So you're looking at getting into metal detecting, but are struggling to sift through the thousands of models, reviews and brands that claim to be the 'best metal detector'.
Crazy price tags, confusing descriptions and biased opinions can often deter people from purchasing a good quality metal detector.
There are a lot of things to consider when looking for a metal detector and a lot of myths to bust, but lucky for you, there are plenty of options out there.
We've accumulated just a few of these options and given you a straight-forward description of its features, functionality and performance.
1. Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV
The Bounty Hunter TK4 is an excellent choice metal detector for the new entrant to the hobby. It’s designed for all-terrain treasure hunting and can detect coins up to 20cms deep and other larger metal objects buried up to 75cm underground.
The really special feature of the detector is its built-in Automatic Ground Trac, a ground balancing operation which automatically adjusts for mineralisation and soil conditions while you’re detecting.
So you don’t need to be making any control operations for terrain changes (eg movement between say wet sand to dry mineralised inland sites) while you’re doing the primary detecting work.
The response of the unit to general mineral content in the ground being searched is desensitised/neutralised.
The notch control allows the user to discriminate between targets and unwanted metals. The detector is streamlined with two controls and a mode selection switch. It has a sensitivity meter to help with signal strength.
Sensitivity and discrimination can be manually adjusted to suit different conditions. And it has a headphone jack. It’s powered by two 9-volt batteries (not included) and has an 8” (20cm) waterproof coil.
The Tracker IV is lightweight and the handle extends to suit your size. The best advice for a new user is to set the sensitivity knob (left-hand side) to 3 o'clock, the toggle switch (right-hand side) to centre (all metals) and the disc switch to 12 o'clock.
The unit also comes with a link to a short online user video which is worth watching if you need help. You also receive a free trowel and carry pouch.
2. Garett AT Pro
The Garett AT Pro metal detector is one for the serious treasure hunter both professional and amateur. There are settings for Pro or Standard modes.It’s designed for use in all conditions and all terrains, particularly wet, humid or dusty environments.
It’s waterproof up to 10-feet with an 8.5” x 11” PROformance submersible searchcoil. It has Pro Mode Audio, Proportional Audio and Tone Roll Audio, all of which allow the user to hear targets in a true all-metal mode.
Its touchpads allow for 40 levels of discrimination between wanted and unwanted targets. And it has 99 levels of distinguishing wanted target conductivities from each other, including digital target ID on the screen.
This detector is reported to be fabulous for detecting coins, particularly when set on ‘Pro Coins’, with the discriminator certainly living up to its claims. Weighing only 2.9kg the unit is light and easy to carry around for long periods.
It’s very easy to assemble, with easy to follow instructions. It runs on 4 x A batteries (included). Headphones for dry weather use are included. Waterproof headphones can be purchased at additional cost.
A coil cover can also be purchased for an additional charge.There are plenty of online YouTube videos to help you learn how to get the maximum benefit out of the AT Pro.
3. Fisher F22
Fully weatherproof and easy to master, the Fisher F22 metal detector is an excellent budget-friendly choice for both experienced and those new to bounty hunting. It is virtually a ‘turn on and go’ unit with very easy controls.
The detector has four operational modes: Artefacts (very basic detection between iron and other metals), Jewellery, Coin, and Custom (which you can set up yourself).
The Audio settings can be set to distinguish the sounds when a target is hit to alert the user to what the mineral might be by the loudness of the sound.
Primarily it distinguishes between ferrous and other mineral targets so that iron can be ignored.
The 4-tone Audio ID system is a pre-set identification audio system with a 0-99 numeric target ID accompaniment on the screen. The detector has 10 adjustable sensitivity levels and can detect metals to a depth of 9”.
The searchcoil is a smallish 9”, triangulated, concentric electric one which is ideal for target distinguishing in smaller areas. It is also waterproof. The unit has a headphone jack. The unit is powered by 2 x AA batteries (Alkaline recommended).
The easy to read user manual explains all you need to know about how to use the detector, although the menu and settings are very easy to navigate and user-friendly.
The unit is super light and easy to swing around for hours at a time. It has a good and very accurate display which saves a lot of wasted digging time.
4. Yescom Deep Sensitive
Ideal for the treasure hunter starting out and not wanting anything too complicated or expensive, the Yescom Deep Sensitive is actually designed particularly for kids and adolescents.
It has a two-section adjustable shaft to fit any size and also suits hand-held use, as well as a comfortable arm support and headphone jack.
At 1.6kg and made from aluminium and ABS plastic, it is light enough for children to be able to carry and swing it around for a reasonable length of time.
It has straightforward sensitivity and audio controls. The detector simply distinguishes between iron (ferrous) and other (non-ferrous) metals.
Its sensitivity is down to 12cm (the size of a 10cent coin approximately). The rotating backlit LCD screen has an object status, view meter and pointer.
It has a large searchcoil (22cm diameter) to increase the chance of finding buried targets and which is waterproof for use in shallow water – great fun at the beach!.
The unit runs on 1 x 9V battery (not included) with a low battery indicator on the LCD screen.This metal detector is a great fun toy for kids of all ages. It will easily find lost and buried coins, perhaps more.
5. Bounty Hunter Quick Draw
Offering depth, speed and accuracy the Bounty Hunter Quick FDraw gives other metal detectors a run for their money.
This is a versatile machine and is as easy or as advanced as you want it to be.
You can simply turn it on and go, or you can choose to take advantage of the custom settings and make it your very own highly discriminating detector.
The 10” (25cm) concentric open searchcoil is waterproof and can search deeper than many other brands. Reviews suggest 16” or deeper.
Its unique interface is highly intuitive and is both analogue and touchpad driven and can be operated with just one hand.
The screen indicators keep you abreast of changing terrain conditions for you to update the unit’s balancing.
You can opt to use the discrimination and notching controls to finetune the detector’s operation. It also has a pinpoint function.
For example, you can adjust/lower the iron (Fe) audio tone to suit if you don't want to hear it whenever iron is detected.
It also has a 0-99 Target ID function and a graphic target depth indicator. There is a 3-tone audio ID function as well. The detector is lightweight (2.3kg) and runs on 1 x 9V battery (not included).
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How To Choose Best Metal Detector?
There is no best metal detector, as each has their own pros and cons depending on the type of hunting you'll be doing. Additionally, budget, experience and features influence your decision.
I'm going to break down a few of the most common features to consider.
If you've never used a metal detector before then you definitely don't want to go out and purchase an expensive machine.
You can definitely make do with an entry level machine which will help you to learn how to actually use it correctly without spending a fortune.
While it is tempting to choose the best metal detector that has lots of different features, it is not always the best option as you still need to be able to find what you're looking for regardless of whether you have the best or most up to date equipment.
If I was just starting out I would choose something within the $200 to $300 range and anything below that I would consider is actually a toy, and is not recommended for use.
Most people that we spoke to would advise purchasing something around the $200 mark for you their first detector and Luckily today we've looked at five of the best that actually fit into this category.