Can Metal Detectors Detect Gold?

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Cory Haasnoot

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Gold! One of the most sought after metals of all time. All kinds of objects have been made of metal for thousands of years. From the treasures of the pharaohs in Egypt to modern gold coins, gold has stood the test of time as being a precious commodity that we all look for.

If you’re starting out in metal detecting you’re probably wondering if metal detectors can detect metal?

So, can metal detectors detect gold? Yes, certain types of metal detectors that are made for the various condition that you find gold can detect gold.

How to Metal Detect For Gold

Metal detecting for gold is fun and exciting when you find something made of gold or gold nuggets themselves. Here is a list of some things you can find while out metal detecting for gold:

  • Gold Nuggets
  • Gold Grains
  • Gold Coins
  • Gold Artifacts
  • Gold bracelets

The list could go on and on. You’re going to pay more for a metal detector that detects gold but if you can make a find and it doesn’t have to be a big find then that gold object you find could pay for the pricier metal detector and then some. 

What Type of Metal Detector is Used to Detect Gold?

The best type of metal detector to use when you want to find gold is the Pulse Induction or PI metal detector. A PI detector uses a high frequency which is needed in the detection of gold.

Digging DeeperThe Sound of Gold: What to Listen to on a Metal Detector

Will Metal Detectors Detect Gold Rings?

If you’re using the right metal detector like a PI detector you will be able to pick up the presence of a gold ring. Gold rings are small so you are going to need the higher frequency pulse induction detectors are known for.

Gold rings including alloys are probably the most often found piece of gold.

Will Metal Detectors Detect White Gold?

If you are wondering if a metal detector can detect white gold your answer is yes. White gold is merely gold that has a coating of nickel allow over it. Detecting white gold would be easier than detecting regular gold because of the nickel coating on it. So you wouldn’t need an expensive pulse induction detector to detect white gold just a regular old metal detector would do.

Detecting Gold Near Creeks and StreamsDetecting Gold Near Creeks and Streams

Creeks and streams are awesome places to go metal detecting for gold because they carry sediment and minerals including gold in the water and them kind of do the panning for gold for you in a natural way.

You will want to make sure you have waterproof search coils on your metal detector and that it has pulse induction high-frequency output.

When detecting for gold along streams and creek beds you will find gold nuggets and gold grains. It’s a good idea to bring a sifter and a pan because you are going to have to do some panning for gold once you locate the area where the gold is located.

A handy tool to have when you are detecting for gold in creeks and streams is a pinpointer. Using the pinpointer you can scan the sand to make sure there is gold in it before you start putting it through the strainer. This will save you a ton of time.

How to Read a River For Gold

Winding river with dirt banks and a forest surrounding it.

Mother nature is a good guide when reading a river for gold deposits. Paystreaks are where water has concentrated the gold so the paystreak areas of a river are where you want to look for gold first.

To read a river for it’s paystreaks you will want to draw a map. When it’s raining heavily go out to the river that you think gold might be present and watch how the water flows and where it flows. 

Detect for gold where the water slowed during the time of the flood. This would be inside, areas after and around where the river bends. It’s in these areas that you will find gold if there is any. You will not always find gold where you think it might be. Mother nature is the keeper of the gold!

Digging Deeper: How to Metal Detect in Rivers and Lakes: Complete Guide

What Metal Detecting Tools are Needed When Detecting Gold?

There are a few tools you will want to purchase besides a good PI metal detector. I will explain what these tools are in the following paragraphs.

  • Get a Good Pair of Headphones – You will want a great pair of headphones when metal detecting for gold. This is because gold gives off faint sounds that you need perfect silence to hear.  A good pair of headphones will cancel out all external sound making it easier to hear the faint sounds that gold nuggets make when detecting.

You also want to have a comfortable pair of headphones because you will more than likely be detecting for gold for hours at a time making comfort crucial. Make sure the sound quality is superb.

The stereo and mono on the headphones should match that of your metal detector. The headphones should have its own volume control as well.

  • Precise Pinpointer – You will need a good pinpointer that is precise so that you can detect around the sand or dirt while you sift through it.
  • Shovel and Pick Ax – A good shovel or stainless trowel and pickax will be needed for digging and breaking open rocks that may contain gold nuggets.
  • Plastic Scoop and Cup – A plastic scoop and cup work great for separating the gold from the other minerals and soil that will be mixed with it. These are fairly inexpensive items to get and you can find them at your local dollar store.
  • Coil Protectors – It doesn’t hurt to get plastic protectors that you can put around the search coils to save on wear and tear especially because these metal detectors are extremely expensive. So anything extra you can do to keep it lasting as long as possible couldn’t hurt.
  • Extra Battery – An extra battery will ensure that you can continue detecting for gold when the first battery dies. Since gold is hard to find you will probably drain the first battery well before you want to be done metal detecting.
  • Container – If it’s gold nuggets you are detecting for I would get a tough plastic container to put the nuggets in. If it’s gold coins or other gold objects you are searching for then a sachel or pouch will do.

Are Search Coils Interchangeable?

Sometimes depending on the terrain and size of gold, you think you will find you want to try different size search coils. Smaller size coils will detect smaller nuggets and grains of gold and larger coils will pick up larger nuggets of gold. You will want to buy a pair of each.

Search coils are not interchangeable between models so you will have to buy the search coils that were made specifically for the model of detector that you have. I know that’s a bummer but that’s how the metal detecting makers make their money. 

Metal Detecting For Gold is Expensive

If you are planning on getting into the gold hunting business be prepared for more expensive equipment then you would need for other types of metal. A good metal detector that can detect gold will cost you $1,000 or more.

But at the same time, gold hunting can be rather lucrative if you have the time, money and willingness to pursue it.

Conclusion – Can Metal Detectors Detect Gold?

Whatever type of gold you are searching for be it gold treasure like coins or gold grains and nuggets. You will find this a very fun and exciting metal to search for. Gold can be very allusive after all it is a rare precious metal but with the right equipment and enough time, you can become very good at it and maybe make a small fortune.

So I would have to say if you have enough time and money to pursue hunting for gold treasure just do it!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. Especially if you have made some gold finds we would love to hear about them!  

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.

2 thoughts on “Can Metal Detectors Detect Gold?”

    • I have never made a metal detector before but if you search youtube or Google you should be able to find plenty of how too’s on the subject. I will plan on writing a how-to guide in the future. Thanks for your comment and good luck.


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