There are so many metal detectors on the market today you could go crazy trying to decide on the best one to buy especially for a beginner detectorist. In this, you will learn everything you need to know about buying your first metal detector.
When you are done reading this article you will have all the knowledge necessary to be able to purchase a metal detector that will fit your needs.
So, what is the best metal detector for beginners? After hours of research, I would recommend the Garrett Ace 300 metal detector as the best metal detector for beginners.
The Garrett Ace 300 is a great all-around metal detector that is easy to use, it has 5 different search functions and you can find it for under $300.
Best Metal Detectors For Beginners Buyers Guide
Before you buy your first metal detector you will want to answer 3 questions.
- How serious are you about metal detecting?
- What kind of treasure do you want to find?
- Geographically where will you be metal detecting?
Once you answer those three questions for yourself you will have a better idea of what kind of metal detector you need to buy. Let me help you answer those questions.
How Serious Are You About Metal Detecting?
Are you serious about metal detecting? If you just want to detect once in a blue moon and not take it seriously you can go to your local hardware store and probably purchase a cheap detector under $100. Don’t get me wrong these cheap ones will work but you won’t have a whole lot of success and they leave much to be desired.
There’s a huge difference between those cheap models and the metal detectors that I’m reviewing within this article. If you’re serious about metal detecting then keep reading for my top reviews but if you just want a cheap metal detector that will not find you much and you’re only interested in detecting once a year or so then don’t waste your time here.
What Kind of Treasure do You Want to Find?
Now that we know if your serious about metal detecting or not you will want to answer the question of what kind of treasure do you want to find?
Are you looking for gold, silver, rings, coins, or relics? Different metal detectors are better than others at detecting these finds. Many of them have settings that will help you accomplish finding whatever you are looking for.
The beginner models we will be discussing work well in finding, jewelry, coins, and relics. But if you want to find gold you will want a more advanced metal detector that is designed for that purpose.
So knowing what you want to find will help you pick the best metal detector for you.
Where Will You Be Metal Detecting?
Different models of metal detectors work better for certain terrains so knowing where you will be doing most of your detecting will help in deciding the right detector for you.
Will you be detecting on beaches, rocky soil, highly mineralized soil, sandy soil, etc.? There are all kinds of soil compositions in any given region of the world and knowing what the soil type is in your area is very important to the type of detector you purchase.
Entry-level detectors have a hard time detecting in soil that has a lot of iron in it. The detectors get confused and have a hard time telling the difference between the iron and the finds.
You will a lot of the time get a false positive on a find in iron-rich soil. So if you live in an area that has high iron soil you will want to purchase a more advanced metal detector that can adjust for those conditions.
Salt also can cause problems like iron can with the detecting process so if you are want to detect on saltwater beaches you will want to look for a more advanced metal detector then the ones I will be reviewing here.
Entry-level metal detectors are designed for what most users will experience when they are metal detecting and if you will be detecting on a saltwater beach or in the Northwest where there is a lot of iron in the soil you will want to look for more of a mid-level detector that will cost you anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars.
Another thing to consider before you purchase a metal detector is if you want to search near rivers or creek beds where there is water. If there will be water where your detecting it’s a good idea to get a fully waterproof detector.
These entry-level detectors are waterproof up to the control box but if you get that control box wet your machine is done. It will short out and you won’t be worth anything to you. So if there is water involved in your detecting you will want to opt for a more expensive model that is entirely waterproof just to be on the safe side
Now That You Know
So if you’re serious about metal detecting, know what you are searching for, and know what type of soil minerals you will be detecting in or if you are detecting around water then you will have a good idea of what is the best metal detector for you.
Metal Detecting Terms That You Should Know
There are a few basic terms you should know when you are going through the process of picking out your first metal detector. I will explain each one and what they mean.
Ground balance is a feature that is used to help determine what type of ground you’re detecting on. On some models, you can cancel certain conditions like the iron in the soil or salt. The entry-level models have a pre-selected ground balance that is set for the average user. But they are not as good at canceling out iron or salt hence you need a more advanced model that you can adjust the ground balance manually.
There are three types of ground balance.
Like I said early entry-level metal detectors are usually preset. The more advanced detectors will have automatic and manual ground balancing settings which give you better detecting for soils rich in iron and on saltwater beaches.
Discrimination is a setting that you can use on a metal detector to help distinguish between the treasure and the trash.
If your searching for coins that have a high conductivity then you can turn the discrimination setting to only find high conductivity targets and leave out the low conductivity targets.
This is a very helpful setting when there is a lot of trash in the ground like you would find in highly used parks and beaches.
If you set your detector to the notching setting you can really discriminate between metals like silver or coins and jewelry. You can also use notching to just find certain size items like different sized coins.
The notching setting helps tremendously when you know specifically what you are searching for. If your not sure exactly what you will find in a certain area then this setting is better left off.
Frequency is the number of times your metal detector emits an electrical current into the ground. Most entry-level detectors are between 5 and 10 kHz. These numbers are really that important in entry-level detectors but if you are planning on buying or more technologically advanced metal detector then you will want to pay more attention to the frequency number.
But for our discussion in this article frequency is not important.
If you want to detect as deep into the ground as possible you will want to keep the sensitivity setting on high. Sometimes you will need to adjust this setting depending on if there is high mineralized soil, electrical interference, radio waves, or powerlines overhead.
Always start with the sensitivity on high and adjust downward from there. Where this setting is at will depend on what type of conditions you find yourself detecting in.
With entry-level detectors, you only get two digital targets
- Notch Id
- Number Id
With the notch id, the target you are detecting gets assigned a category of metals that depends on its size and conductivity levels.
Number id has a scale of 1 to 100. Number id can better pinpoint the type of metal you have found. If it detects trash the number will be between 1 and 30 on most models. And if the numbers are 30 to 99 are typically more valuable finds. The higher the number the higher the conductivity is for that target and vice versa for the lower conductivity targets.
Digital target helps you determine what you have found before you dig it up saving you wasted time digging on nonimportant hits.
That pretty much does it for what you need to know before you buy your first metal detector. Now on to the review of the 5 best metal detectors for beginners.
The 5 Best Metal Detectors For Beginners
The following are the 5 best metal detectors that I have personally chosen for beginner detectorists. You will find that all 5 of these models are of high quality and they have the functions needed to get you started in the world of metal detecting.
Garrett Ace 300
The Garrett Ace 300 is our number 1 pick for a metal detector that works great for a beginner. This metal detector has everything you need when you are just starting out metal detecting and much more than some advanced detectors have as well.
- Digital number and notch id
- Submersible search coil that spans 7 to 10 inches in diameter
- High frequency of 8 kHz for better sensitivity when searching for low and medium conductivity targets such as gold or lead.
- Increase iron resolution compared to other models. This helps in detecting areas rich in iron.
- Ability to adjust the frequency which helps eliminate interference from radio waves, electricity, powerlines, and soil minerals.
- Camlocks to hold the stem in place
- Pulse width modulation audio for a sharper audio experience.
- Five search modes plus pinpoint
- Eight sensitivity/depth adjustments
- Coin depth indicator
- Expanded target id legend that indicates what size coin you are detecting and even the denomination in US coins.
The Ace 300 by Garrett has everything you would want in a metal detector for a successful first-time out, treasure hunting! And it also comes with a limited 2-year warranty on parts and labor.
If your goal is in finding coins, detecting freshwater beaches, jewelry, or relic hunting then the Ace 300 is the right fit for beginners of all types.
Second, on our list is the Fisher F22. The F22 is another great metal detector that has all the options needed for beginners in metal detecting. It also has features that are sometimes found on advanced models.
- The F22 is weatherproof so you can take it out in rain or shine.
- Fe tone adjustable iron audio
- Runs on two AA batteries
- Number and notch id with 9 segments
- Four modes of operation – Jewelry, coin, artifice, and custom
- Iron identifier icon
- 10 adjustable sensitivity levels
- 20 adjustable volume settings
- Memory saver settings
- 9-Inch Triangulated Concentric Elliptical Waterproof Search coil
- Lightweight only weighs 2.3 pounds
All in all the F22 is a very affordable metal detector that has all the essential options a beginner would need.
Teknetics EuroTek Pro
Third, on our list is the EuroTek Pro by Teknetics. This is a pretty simple metal detector but it gets the job done.
With the EuroTek Pro, you get an ergonomic handle designed for comfort when operating. You get an easy-to-operate detector with a button control that lets you turn it on and go.
You get a choice of two search coils: An 8” round coil that comes standard or the optional 11” DD elliptical search coil for a little larger search area.
The EuroTek Pro is designed for treasure hunting in conditions you mostly find in Europe. It works great in iron-rich soil and has excellent target separation so you can distinguish the treasure from the junk.
- 2-tone audio target-ID with 3-segment depth indicator
- Fast recovery speed
- Motion discrimination mode
- Turn-On-And-Go, 3-button operation
- Excellent target separation
- Works well in iron-rich soil
- 5-year warranty
If you live in Europe the EuroTek Pro is a must-have for beginner detectorists!
Bounty Hunter TK 4 Tracker
The Tracker by Bounty hunter is the most popular metal detector amongst metal detecting hobbyists.
You get easy functionality because of its knob-controlled interface. The sensitivity control lets you maximize the depth that you detect at. Easily tell the difference between the treasure and the junk you sometimes find in beaches and parks where people congregate.
With the mode toggle, you can easily switch from discrimination to all metals and tone modes.
You will love the fact that you can detect all kinds of metals from gold and silver to relics to coins. Search for whatever you desire with the Tracker IV!
Works well for detecting coins and jewelry, relic detecting, as well as gold prospecting and utility, uses. Small coins can be detected up to 8” deep and up to 2 feet for larger targets.
- The search coil is waterproof
- 3 operation modes
- 2 tone audio discrimination
- All-metal mode
- 3 position mode switch
- Target strength meter
- Automatic ground balance
- Speaker built-in
- Sensitivity control
- Discrimination control
- 5-year limited warranty against defects in workmanship and parts
The TK4 Tracker IV is an excellent beginner metal detector for detecting all types of metals. You have everything you need to make a successful day of metal detecting all in one detector!
This metal detector runs on two 9-volt batteries with an operating frequency of 6.6 kHz and weighs 4.2 lbs.
Minelab X-Terra 505
Last but not least on our list is the Minelab X-Terra 505 metal detector. Minelab makes quality metal detectors that are a lot of the time priced high but for good reason, they are high-tech metal detectors. But they also have a few cheaper models that are still excellent for the beginner detectorist.
The X-Terra is an excellent entry-level metal detector. It’s easy to use, lightweight and it has exactly what you need to get started in the world of metal detecting minus all the complicated extras that you find in more advanced detectors. The 505 is packed with quality components for superb performance.
There is even a short shaft so that the kids can take a go at metal detecting. The 505 is truly a no non-sense high performing metal detector that the whole family can enjoy and learn from.
- Manual ground balance for an exceptional metal detecting experience in all types of soil
- All-metal mode
- 2 preset modes that can be customized
- Compatible with medium and high-frequency search coils
- Choice of 1,2 or 3 tone IDs plus multi-tone Target ID (12) response. This allows greater flexibility in deciding how target signals are represented
- Depth Indicator
- Fine-tune target audio
- Runs on 4-AA batteries
- Rapid recovery pin-point with variable tone and graphical indicator
- Noise Cancel function with 3 manual settings allowing the user to pick the quietest channel for detecting
The X-Terra 505 by Minelab is a great choice for any beginner detectorist.
Now you should have a better understanding of what to look for when purchasing your first metal detector. Any of these five that I have included in this review are great solid metal detectors to get started with.
Thanks for reading and I hope you got enough information from this article to make an informed purchasing decision. As always Happy Treasure Hunting!