Are Hobby Metal Detectors Safe?

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Cory Haasnoot

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Metal detecting is a hobby that many people enjoy.  You have likely seen people combing beaches and locations where large gatherings have been held in hopes of finding left behind treasures. Depending on the size and range of your metal detector, you can likely find some interesting things. 

The most common type of metal detector is the hobby metal detector. While hobby metal detectors do rely on a magnetic field to work properly, the strength of the magnetic field is safe for users.  The magnetic field is weaker than that of a walkthrough metal detector. (Source: Teknetics Direct)

In this article, you will learn how metal detectors work, the best way to safely use a metal detector as well as where you can use a hobby metal detector. 


Why Hobby Metal Detectors Are Safe?

Metal detecting on the beach

Whenever you think about magnetic fields that are associated with machines of any type, you need to be aware of the strength and dangers they can possess. The magnetic field emitted from a hobby metal detector is relatively weak in comparison to other magnetic field machines.  

The magnetic field is concentrated on the area directly around the disk at the bottom of the metal detector.  Because it is concentrated in an area that is away from the rest of your body, it is unlikely that you would receive negative effects even in the instance of a malfunction. (Source: Fischer Lab)

Is It Safe To Use a Metal Detector With Metal Devices

One of the biggest safety questions comes from individuals with pacemakers or other metal surgical implants. When individuals have medical implants, they are often exempt from walking through full-body metal detectors because of the potential negative effects.  Therefore, you may wonder about using a hobby metal detector safely.

What if you have a pacemaker?

When an individual is outfitted with a pacemaker, they are also given a litany of warnings and precautions that need to be followed to ensure their health and safety.  One of the warnings is not to be around magnetic fields (primarily those with a strong force).  This warning may make you leery of hobby metal detectors as well, but there is likely nothing to be afraid of. 

Pacemakers were developed to withstand quite high levels of magnetism. While it is not recommended to spend a lot of time around magnetic fields, there have been studies completed that have shown how difficult it is to interfere with the pacemaker.  So, it is highly unlikely that harm can occur from the weak field released by a hobby metal detector.  (Source: WebMD)


What Makes Hobby Metal Detectors Safe?

Metal detecting in the sand.

So, what makes hobby metal detectors so much safer than other metal detectors. Some ways that hobby metal detectors are safer include:

  • Focused rays:  Because of the way a metal detector is designed, the x-rays are focused on a location that is close to the ground.  The proximity to the ground ensures the rays cannot harm the subject using the metal detector. 
  • Low-level x-rays: The power of the x-rays emitted by the metal detector is so low that it is highly unlikely that they will cause harm to the user.  However, it is important to know this is only proven true when the metal detector is used appropriately. 

(Source: Metal Detecting Lab)


Are Hobby Metal Detectors Safe For All Ages?

Young boy metal detecting

The hobby of metal detecting is not limited to specific ages; however, you need to make sure you have the proper size tool depending on your age.  The metal detector that an adult would use is likely too large for a child. Therefore, it is important to get the proper-sized machine. 

The great thing about metal detecting is there is no age limit. Many senior citizens are active metal detector hobbyists.  Many claim that metal detecting is a safe way to keep their physical health in check.  The time they spend walking up and down the beach or through the woods helps keep them strong and upbeat. (Source: Kelly CoDetectors)

Kids can also have a great time metal detecting. Not only is it a great physical activity, but it is also a great educational opportunity.  Metal detecting can unearth many hidden treasures that beg to be investigated and studied.  Not only can kids learn from metal detecting, but it is also a great way for them to connect to the adults in their lives as well. (Source: Hunting for Metal)


Metal Detector Safety

As you can see, metal detectors are safe for users of all ages, however, there are safety precautions that you need to take when using a metal detector.  Often, the areas you may venture to go metal detecting are unfamiliar. 

These tips should be followed to ensure you are safely using a metal detector:

  • Know the location: There are many different places you can choose to go with your metal detector, and some are safer than others.  If you are choosing to go on an expedition to the landfill or deep into the woods, make sure you have a map and let others know where you are going and when you expect to be back.  It would also be wise to take along snacks and water just in case you are out longer than anticipated. 
  • Know the laws: You need to know the laws for the location you are choosing to go metal detecting.  Many locations require permits to use a metal detector.  It is also important to understand the rules and laws when it comes to removing and taking home objects that you find. 

If you are in a historical location, you may not be permitted to remove items without penalty. 

If you are searching in an area where there are war materials like grenades and other ammunition that has the potential to be live, there may be other protocol to follow to ensure your safety. 

  • Use proper safety equipment: The safety equipment you need to use when metal detecting is quite minimal; however, if you are going to be in an area where there are sharp objects, you may want to take cut-resistant gloves.  You also want to make sure you are wearing the proper clothing and shoes, depending on where you are looking.  

You mustn’t allow a child to go metal detecting alone. While they may be very independent and able to handle the challenge of an adventure, trouble always can arise – whether it be in the location they are looking or with an object they happen to find.  They will likely find nothing more than coins or bits of metal, but if something dangerous is found, it is important to have adult supervision. 


Digging Deeper: How To Make A Metal Detector With A Radio


Final Thoughts – Are Hobby Metal Detectors Safe?


Metal detectors are safe and can be used by anyone of any age and even those with medical devices and conditions. The magnetic field used in a hobby metal detector is not strong enough to cause any serious problems as long as the device is used correctly. 

However, before you jump into the hobby of metal detecting, you must become familiar with the locations you want to detect and the laws associated with the location. Some places do not allow you to take home what you find while metal detecting and others don’t allow metal detecting on their property at all.

It is also important that you use proper safety protocol, such as not going alone and letting someone know where you are and when you plan to be back. If you follow the proper safety protocol, you can plan on having many fun metal detecting adventures.

I hope I answered all of your questions on metal detector safety. If you have any additional questions or comments feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

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Author: Cory Haasnoot

Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.