Best Metal Detectors – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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Metal Detectors - A Buyer’s Guide

Metal detecting is a great hobby for pretty much anyone! Young or old, you will be able to take delight in metal detecting. It is a great way to get out in the outdoors, whether you are looking for valuables, historical elements or just curious to see what is out there! You may also need a metal detector for work that you are completing. For example, if you are planning on completing landscaping jobs in your garden then you will need to know if there is any metal pipework in the ground under your garden!

There are many metal detectors out there, and the metals that you are wanting to detect will largely impact on the quality of metal detector that you need as they work based on the conductivity of the different materials!

Our article aims to provide enough information so that you can get out their exploring to start finding your own treasure. So keep reading for all you need to know!

Best Pick – Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector

Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector – Waterproof, Waterproof up to 3 Metres Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Multi-Frequency, Gold Detection Mode.
  • Simultaneous Multi-Frequency
  • 8 Custom Search Profiles
  • Waterproof for up to 3 meters
  • Fast & Accurate Target ID
  • Four Detecting Modes including Gold

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Only Got 5 Minutes?

Super eager to get out metal detecting? Got treasure to hunt down? Sick of going round in circles digging holes? If this is you then this is the part of the article you need to read. We have put all the vital information that you need right here so that you can get buying a metal detector as soon as possible. We have also included some of our favourites on the market to save you the hassle of trying to trowel the internet for the right one!

Key Metal Detector Features

Here are some of the main features that you need to look out for when purchasing a metal detector if you want to actually find the treasure out there instead of spending your days just wandering round a field!


The first thing that you need to consider is the type of terrain that you are going to be working on most frequently. Metal detectors are all going to be better suited to particular terrains, which makes your purchase especially easy if you know that you are going to be hunting on just one! However it is rare that is going to be the case, so you need to find one that is better suited to the MAIN type of terrain that you are going to be using, but that can also survive on all other terrains just in case.

Different metal detectors will work better in different environments, such as on beaches, in rocky ground or in fields.


The weight of your metal detector is also going to be incredibly important! You are going to be carrying this tool around with you whenever you are hunting, and as you get more invested in the hobby you could be walking for a fair distance whilst you are searching for your treasure. Plus, it is important to consider that you are also going to be carrying a shovel around with you and whatever treasures you have already found so your carrying weight will increase as you are working! This means that your metal detector needs to be a light as possible.

We found models ranged from around 2lbs up to 8lbs, which is quite a difference when you are going to be walking around!


You need a metal detector that is going to be able to discriminate between one thing and another as the last thing you want is a wild goose chase collecting old cans and pieces of rubbish. Metal detectors will have two different types of discrimination settings and it is crucial that these are up to scratch! You can opt for either auto adjust, which saves you from having to have too much of an input as the tool will adjust itself, or manual adjust which allows you to tune out particular items yourself so that your tool becomes more specific for you and what you are looking for.

Ground Balance

Almost all terrains that you are metal detecting in will have small levels of metal in the ground. This level varies depending on your location and the type of terrain that you are working with – some levels can be really quite high in parts of the country! Ground balance is therefore essential to allow you to “teach” your metal detector what is just standard soil and what is a treasure waiting to be found! You will have three different options when it comes to how metal detectors control their ground balance levels.

  • Automatic – these have systems that detect and adjust the metal levels in the ground automatically to save you any work
  • Manual – This will require you to adjust the balance each time you go somewhere different which can be a bit of a faff but does mean that you know the balance is going to be completely right for wherever you are metal detecting!
  • Preset – These tend to be cheaper options as the manufacturer will present a ground balance. This is great for if you are on a budget, plus they are a lot easier to work with as  you can just get out and go straight away, but you are going to be limited depending on what you are looking for.

TOP TIP: Some of the best metal detectors come with multiple ground balance options, so you may find that they will automatically adjust normally (saving you time and hassle) but can also be manually set should your balance appear to be off in one particular location.

Frequency and Search Depth

The operating frequency of your metal detector really depends on exactly what you are hoping to find when you are out searching. If you are new to metal detecting and just wanting to see what is out there waiting then opting for one with a mid frequency will be perfect as this will help you to find a mix of everything.

However, if you are more particular with your search then frequency is important. Lower frequency detectors are able to go deeper into the ground so will cover more depth whilst you are walking – helping you to find treasures deep underground where no one has gone before. However, higher frequency detectors will be more capable of finding smaller objects and gold, so if this tickles your fancy then you know what to look for!

The search depth will largely depend on the quality of the metal detector and the search coils that are provided with it. Different coils will work to different depths so it is important to opt for a model that comes with a decent sized coil to allow you the most chance of coming out successful on your search.

Best Budget – MYLEK MYMD1062 Metal Detector

MYLEK MYMD1062 Metal Detector Waterproof Complete with Bag, Headphones, Shovel & Pick/Compass Tool Kit for Kids & Adults, Yellow and Black
  • This lightweight metal detector comes with plenty of impressive features making it the perfect option for any metal detecting enthusiast
  • Super strong Discrimination ability along with its view meter, pointer and 6.5" Waterproof search coil making it great for use in a variety of metal detecting terrains
  • Free headphones, shovel & 3-in-1 shovel, pick & compass tool included: choose the XP plus and get started straight away with your free headphones and 3-in-1 tool that acts as a shovel, a pick and a compass
  • Its strong and robust casing ensures longer life, low battery indicator, adjustable arm rest and adjustable stem & 6.5" Waterproof search coil
  • Comes with a 1 year warranty, is CE certified and RoHS compliant to the highest UK standards by a European recognised testing house for your peace of mind. Requires 1 x 9V DC battery (not supplied)

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

A Treasure Trove of Features

Now that you know the main features you need to consider before purchasing, here are some of those additional important factors you need to look for in a metal detector.

  • LCD Target Identification – All metal detectors are going to have some kind of target identification – that is the point of them after all. For some this is something as simple as a monotone beep, others have different beeps depending what it is that they have found. Plus, the best metal detectors will have an LCD display screen so that you can even see the shape of the item under the ground so you know if it is worth starting digging.
  • Waterproof and Dive-proof – Most metal detectors are going to be waterproof to a certain extent. Let’s be honest, if you are working outside in the great british weather then your metal detector is going to have to be waterproof! But there are also models that will essentially be dive-proof, with special features that allow you to work underwater! If you are situated near the beach or lakes and think this might be more your type of thing then this is definitely worth looking out for!
  • Battery – It is very unlikely that you are going to be close to mains electricity whilst using a metal detector – so your battery is going to be important! Look out for a model with a decent, rechargeable battery that has a reasonable life on it! Otherwise you are going to be very frustrated when your battery runs out halfway through your hunt!
  • Usability – Regardless of your experience of working with metal detectors you are going to want one that is easy to use! Many of the best metal detectors have considered usability and have easy controls that are simple to master, however some are really rather complicated, especially if they have manual settings you have to organise! Be sure to check for this – particularly if you are new to metal detecting!
  • Comfort grip – Most metal detectors strap to your arm as well as having a handle to hold. This helps to reduce the pressure of the weight that you are carrying so that you can hunt for even further! Look out for models that have comfort grip handles and straps to reduce the strain whilst you are working!

Metal Detector Accessories

The good thing about buying a metal detector from new is that many of them come with useful accessory kits. These will include varying items depending on the kit that you go for but they can make your life much easier when you are metal detecting and can save you money from having to buy all the accessories individually. These include:

  • Headphones – Some metal detectors allow you to plug in headphones. This can be extremely helpful as it will stop others around you from having to listen to the beeping of the detector but it also makes it much easier for you to hear when the beeping is getting louder and faster, particularly if you are working in more exposed areas. This makes it easier to get straight to the source of the treasure and get digging.
  • Digging tools – Some metal detectors come with varied digging tools that will help you to get the job done when your metal detector has done its bit! These will be perfectly sized to not get in the way whilst you are hunting but big enough to maximum the force when you need them.
  • Different sized search coils – As mentioned above, the search coil impacts on the depth that you can look down to. Some metal detectors allow you to swap up the coil size so that you can work to different depths depending on the terrain.
  • Pack Away Size – You need to remember to consider where you are going to keep your metal detector whilst it is not in use. Many can be broken down or slotted into themselves to make them more compact when being stored. Others come with large “bags” that allow you to keep all the accessories and the main tool together.

Best of the Rest

DR.ÖTEK Lightweight Metal Detector for Adults, Multi-Function with Pinpointer, Big Waterproof Coil for Greater Depth with Backlit LCD, Innovative Memory Mode, Easier to Find Valuables
  • TOP METAL DETECTOR FOR ADULTS and the finest of the deluxe DR.ÖTEK line. The MT-XR is an exciting new addition for both professionals and enthusiasts. Offers 5 upgraded modes including Pinpoint Mode, All metal, Discrimination, Memory, and Jewelry. Innovative Memory Mode remembers one kind of metal and only detects that specific type. Locate exactly what you want in far less time.
  • LARGE LCD DISPLAY has a big clear 3" x 2.2" screen that is easy to read. Backlight lets you work in the dark for a great deal more flexibility. 3 display modes to easily identify the type of metals you are detecting. Displays digital image and sound with multiple settings for customization.
  • 9.8" WIDE SEARCH COIL is so powerful it can locate a quarter coin up to 10" underground. It can find larger objects at even greater depths. The coil is waterproof and works well in shallow water.
  • DEPTH & SENSITIVITY ADJUSTABLE. Adjust the depth indication for objects 2", 4", 6", 8" with plus or minus. Easily fine tune for objects and conditions with the 5 grade sensitivity control. This gives you a lot of control over accuracy not found in lesser designs. Spend far less time digging while finding more exciting precious metals and antique artifacts.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & EASY TO CARRY this is an excellent choice for travel, vacations, camping trips, and outings. It's a great birthday gift, holiday present, anniversary gift or give for Father's Day and Mother's Day. Buy yours now while we have this very popular new model in plentiful supply.

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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Last update on 2024-04-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

How Does A Metal Detector Work

If you are wondering exactly how a metal detector works then look no further. Here is a short video that explains the details of the tool that you are looking to buy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What warranty comes with a metal detector?
The warranty with a metal detector really depends on the quality of machine that you are looking for – some have a warranty as short as a year, whereas others go all the way to 5 years! We also found models that will reward you with an additional years warranty if you register the product online so this is well worth checking for!

What is the best frequency for metal detectors?
Usually the best frequency for metal detecting is between 5 kHz and 15kHz depending on the types of metal that you are looking for and the terrain that you are working with! If you are hunting for gold then you will need a higher frequency though! Look out for models that allow you to change between frequencies so that your detector will be more flexible in the jobs that it can complete.

What will a metal detector pick up?

A metal detector will be able to pick up most ferrous and non-ferrous metals providing they are electrically conductive. However, metals that aren’t conductive, such as titanium, will not be detected. If you are wanting to detect gold then you are going to need a really good quality metal detector as gold has relatively low conductivity.

  • Performance
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About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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