Whether you’re just getting into metal detecting or are ready to upgrade your current metal detector after years of use, there are lots of products to choose from on the market. If you’re having trouble narrowing down your options, our metal detector guide can help you find the right tool for you. After all, the best metal detector for your needs will depend on lots of factors that you’ll need to consider before you make a decision. That’s why we’ve broken down our buyer guide into four main categories. Plus, we’ve included some details you’ll need to think about before you buy a metal detector. So feel free take a look at those details and some suggestions for the top three metal detectors in each category as you browse our buyer guide.

What to Consider Before You Buy a Metal Detector

As you can see from this metal detector guide, there are several great products to choose from depending on what you need it for. This means there’s not simply one best metal detector that stands out above all the others. The right one for you depends on several factors you should consider before you buy.

How Will You Use It?

For example, think about what metals you plan to look for when you use your metal detector. Will you be looking for any metal treasures you can find, or specifically gold, coins, jewelry, silver, ancient relics, etc.? Your answer will determine how sensitive your metal detector will need to be and what kind of technology it will have.

 VLF vs PI

Speaking of technology, before you start shopping, you should know that most metal detectors use either Very Low Frequency (VLF) or Pulse Induction (PI). Products that have VLF technology have frequencies ranging from 3 kHz to 70 kHz and tend to be best for finding jewelry, relics, coins, and small to medium gold nuggets in shallow area. On the other hand, PI technology is better for finding large gold nuggets and can work well at greater depths. So as you read this buyer guide, think about what kind of treasures you want to find with the metal detector you buy.

Where Will You Use It?

Another question to ask yourself as you read this buyer guide is where will you be using the metal detector you get? If you plan to use it in the ocean or a lake, you’ll need an underwater metal detector that’s waterproof. More specifically, think about whether you’ll be using it in freshwater or saltwater, as some products are better than others for each type of water. Choosing the right one will not only be more effective at finding treasures, but will also help your metal detector last as long as possible. On the other hand, if you simply plan to use it in a local park or in historic buildings, you don’t necessarily need a waterproof product.

Who Will Be Using It?

You’ll also need to think about who will be using the metal detector the most. These items come in different weights and lengths, so you need to choose one that you can comfortably carry, or even one that’s adjustable. And if a child will be using the metal detector, you’ll need one made for kids.

What’s Your Budget for a Metal Detector?

Finally, as you read this metal detector guide, think about your budget, as these products can range in price from $100 to over $5,000. Generally, if you’re just starting out with this hobby, your budget can be on the lower end. Then, once you get used to properly using a metal detector—and have determined that you’re going to stick with this hobby long term—you should think about spending a little more for advanced features.

Now that you know what to look for, check out the recommendations in our buyer guide in each category. Don’t forget to read the reviews and specifications for each product to make sure you’re getting a metal detector with the size, features, price point, reliability, and quality you’re looking for.


Treasure Hunting

Whether you’re looking for coins, jewelry, or ancient relics, you need a metal detector that can find what you seek under the surface. Fortunately, there are several metal detectors that can unearth everything from silver coins to gold rings as you hunt for treasure in parks, beaches, historical sites, and more.

Best Value

If you’re looking for a versatile, reliable metal detector for finding treasure, you can’t go wrong with the Garrett AT Pro. This all-terrain metal detector lets you look for treasure both on land and underwater as needed. Take a look at the highlights of this product:

  • Waterproof up to 10 feet
  • Weighs about 3 pounds
  • Electronic pinpointing feature gives you a great idea of exactly where the metal is buried
  • 15 kHz frequency is sensitive enough to find jewelry, gold nuggets, coins, and more
  • Comes with MS-2 headphones
  • Emits different tones based on the depth an item is buried & whether it’s made of iron or a more valuable metal
  • Digital target ID tells you the conductivity of metal
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Best of the Best

As you browse our buyer guide, make sure you look into XP Deus Metal Detector if you want the best chance of finding tiny treasures, such as thin jewelry. This is because it’s sensitive enough to work with high frequencies, allowing it to quickly find small items and metals that have low conductivity. Here are the highlights of this metal detector:

  • Weighs just under 2 pounds
  • Fully waterproof
  • Battery lasts up to 27 hours
  • 35 frequencies from 2.7 kHz to 27.7 kHz
  • Different search modes for dry sand, wet sand, coins, and relics
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Best for Beginners

As the name suggests, the Nokta Makro Simplex is simple to use, making it a great metal detector if you’re new to this hobby! It features auto ground balancing, as well as beach mode to make it easy to find treasure in either water or sand at the beach. Here are the specs to know:

  • Waterproof up to 10 feet
  • Weighs 2.9 pounds
  • 4 preset modes
  • VLF frequency is 12 kHz
  • Notch discrimination to avoid unwanted metals
  • LED flashlight, keypad backlight, and LCD backlight for nighttime use
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Another feature-rich metal detector that’s easy to use is the Garrett Ace 400. This product has simple controls and adjustable frequency, which lets you reduce the interference that nearby electrical sources might create. Check out the other features it boasts:

  • Weighs 2.9 lbs
  • Waterproof coil
  • Camlocks to improve stability
  • Adjustable frequency at 10 kHz
  • Iron Audio feature lets you hear discriminated iron so you don’t dig for unwanted metals
  • Comes with Garrett ClearSound Easy Stow Headphones with volume control
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Underwater Metal Detecting

If you plan to try to find lots of metal treasures underwater, you’ll likely need a product that works even deeper than 10 feet. After all, you don’t want the product you buy to be ineffective or even water damaged shortly after you enter the water. That’s why our buyer guide includes metal detectors that are specifically ideal for looking for metal underwater, whether in the ocean or in lakes, streams, and rivers. Take a look at some of the top underwater metal detectors on the market.

Best of the Best

Minelab Excalibur II 1000 Metal Detector

If you want a metal detector that works great both on land and in the sea, the Minelab Excalibur II should be on your list of products to check out. It works as far as a couple hundred feet down so you can use it while scuba diving to find metal coins, jewelry, or relics. That’s why it made it onto our metal detector guide. Here are the main features it has:

  • Weighs just over 5 pounds
  • Waterproof up to 200 feet
  • 17 frequencies ranging from 1.5 kHz to 25.5 kHz
  • Sends out a separate tone for every frequency
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Best Value

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Underwater Metal Detector with 8" PROformance Search Coil

Another underwater metal detector you’ll see on the typical buyer guide is the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II. Like the Minelab model, you can scuba dive down to 200 feet with this product. Plus, it can easily discern metal trash—like foil—from more valuable metals. Here are the highlights to look forward to if you choose this metal detector:

  •  Weighs about 5 pounds
  • Waterproof up to 200 feet
  • Uses pulse induction (PI) technology at 750 pulses per second
  • Automatic salt elimination capability
  • Comes with underwater headphones
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Best for Beginners


If you’re not scuba diving but still want to search some freshwater for valuable metals, you can stick with an underwater metal detector that doesn’t go quite as deep as 200 feet. The Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi is a good example of that, as it has the following features:

  • Weighs 3.7 pounds
  • Waterproof up to about 16 feet
  • Has 3 frequencies: 5 kHz, 14 kHz, and 20 kHz
  • Advanced beach mode lets it work well in wet sand, dry sand, & underwater
  • Comes with wireless headphones
  • Uses vibration for the hearing impaired
  • Has several search modes to choose from
  • E.U.D. (Extra Underground Depth) function lets you find metals at fringe depths
  • Has 9 search modes to choose from, such as cache mode and deep mode
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Metal Detectors for Kids

Finding treasure isn’t just for adults. Kids love the idea of treasure hunting, too! That’s why we included kid versions of these products on this metal detector guide. Just keep in mind that when you’re looking for a metal detector for kids to use, you’ll need a smaller, lighter product that’s comfortable for children to hold, so look at the weight and length of the product before you decide. A metal detector for kids is also typically more basic than what you’d buy for yourself, as you want a product that’s easy to use right from the start. Take a look at some of the best options on the market lately. 

Best for Beginners


If your child is under 10 and you want to introduce him or her to metal detecting without spending too much early on, try the Minelab Go-Find 22. This metal detector for kids is super lightweight and easy for kids to hold on to while they hunt for treasure. Take a look at the most important specs to know:

  • Weighs 2.2 pounds
  • Waterproof coil up to 8 inches
  • 2 preset find modes
  • Icons flash to alert you to what you’ve found
  • 3 levels of sensitivity
  • Folds up so you can carry it anywhere
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Best Value

Nokta Makro Mini Hoard

If you want a kids’ metal detector that’s waterproof so your child can search for treasure at the beach or in a stream, take a look at the Nokta Makro Mini Hoard. Like the other kids’ metal detectors in this buyer guide, this product is lightweight and easy for little beginners to use, especially for those in the 4 to 8 year age range. It can find everything from small to large items, and it even comes in a bright green shade to appeal to kids. Here’s a look at its highlights:

  • Weighs 1.7 pounds
  • Waterproof up to 10 feet
  • Depth indicator works on 3 levels
  • Custom LCD display
  • 2 audio tones
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Nokta Makro Midi Hoard

The Nokta Makro Midi Hoard is similar to the mini, but it’s slightly larger so it’s best for older kids 8 to 12 years old. As such, it has a few more features, such as the following:

  •  Weighs 1.9 pounds
  • Waterproof up to 10 feet
  • Depth indicator works on 3 levels
  • Custom LCD display
  • 3 audio tones
  • 3 levels of sensitivity
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Best of the Best

If your child is 9 or older and you want a decent quality metal detector that will last awhile, the Garrett Ace 200 is a great model to try out. It’s basically a starter product for anyone who’s new to this hobby, kids included. Here are the most important features of this metal detector:

  • Weighs 2.75 pounds
  • Waterproof coil
  • 6.5 kHz frequency
  • 3 search modes: Jewelry, Coins, and Zero Discrimination or All Metals
  • Digital Target ID tells you target metal’s conductivity and depth
  • Adjustable arm strap and cuff to make it easy to hold on to
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Gold Prospecting

If you plan to focus your search mostly on gold, there are a few facts you should know before you make your choice based on this buyer guide. To begin, note that nearly all metal detectors can find gold, so you don’t necessarily need one that focuses mostly on this precious metal. If you’re just getting started with this hobby and you want to find a variety of metals, you can stick with a basic all-purpose metal detector.

That being said, if you’re sure you want to focus on finding gold, there are some products that are better than others when it comes to finding metals like this. For instance, most metal detectors that are best for finding gold use pulse induction (PI) technology to find gold in different sizes at nearly any depth. Granted, those tend to be more expensive than the ones that use VLF technology, so you can stick with a VLF version if you’re on a budget. Just try to find one that has a frequency of 20 kHz or more so you have a good chance of finding gold.

The metal detector you choose should also work well in mineralized soil so you can find gold even when the ground has iron ore and other metals that could interfere with the search. Finally, it’s best to get a waterproof—or at least water resistant—metal detector so you can look for gold in streams and lakes across the country. Before you start hunting for gold, take a look at the products that made our metal detector guide.

Best Value

One of the best features of the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 is its Gold Chance Indicator, which tells you your chances of finding gold before you even get started. If you think that sounds helpful, keep reading our buyer guide to see what other features it has:

  • Weighs just under 3 pounds
  • Waterproof coils up to 3 feet
  • 45 kHz VLF frequency with 24-bit signal processor to help you find gold nuggets in many sizes
  • 3 sensitivity options: Manual Sensitivity, Auto, & Auto+
  • 6 volume levels
  • Auto ground balance
  • Detect modes include Gold (Iron Reject) and Deep All-Metal
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Best for Beginners

If you want a waterproof metal detector that’s specialized for finding gold just about anywhere, go with Nokta Gold Kruzer. Known for being sensitive enough to find gold of various sizes and at numerous depths, this product has several features you’ll want when you’re looking for precious metals. Some of the best ones include the following:

  • Weighs 3 pounds
  • Waterproof up to 16.4 feet
  • Includes two coils and wireless headphones
  • Discrimination button lets you avoid iron or other unwanted metals as you search for gold
  • 4 search modes: General (all metals), Fast, Boost, and Micro
  • E.U.D. (extra underground depth) feature lets you find small gold nuggets at fringe depths
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If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly metal detector that’s sensitive enough to detect gold at nearly any size, consider XP ORX. One of the best things about this product is its four factory programs that you can easily choose depending on your needs. Two of the programs are perfect for finding coins, jewelry, and relics, while the other two are best for gold prospecting. The gold prospecting options let you find medium and large gold nuggets with one setting, or fine gold that’s smaller to medium in size. As you get used to this metal detector, you can stop using the factory presets and customize your own settings if you’d like. Here are the other features that allowed this product to make it into our metal detector guide:

  • Waterproof coil up to 9.5 in.
  • Weighs 1 lb. 14 oz.
  • 21 frequencies from 13 kHz to 81 kHz
  • High Frequency (HF) Search Coil is sensitive enough to find the smallest flakes of gold
  • 99 levels of discrimination
  • Pinpoint feature with target zoom
  • 20 levels of threshold
  • Comes with wireless headphones
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Best of the Best

If you’re looking for an all-around great tool for finding gold, go with the Fisher Gold Bug II. This metal detector is considered one of the most sensitive products on the market when it comes to finding gold, especially if you’re searching for small gold nuggets. Here are its specs:

  • Water resistant
  • Weighs 2.9 lbs
  • Frequency of 71 kHz
  • Deep Target Audio Boost
  • 3 mineralization modes
  • Iron Disc Mode for better discrimination against iron and hot rocks
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Now that you’ve read these recommendations—as well as the factors to consider before shopping for a metal detector—you should be able to confidently buy the product that’s right for you. Whether you’re a beginner at metal detecting or a pro who wants to upgrade your equipment, this buyer guide should have at least one metal detector that fits your needs. And if you have any questions as you start shopping for metal detectors, feel free to contact us today!