The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners of 2022

Uncover buried treasure with one of the best beginner-friendly metal detectors on the market.

By Savannah Sher | Published Jun 30, 2022 5:33 AM

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The Best metal Detectors for Beginners Options

Photo: amazon.com

Dreaming of finding long-lost relics and other buried treasures? Metal detecting may be for you. While this hobby usually involves a serious time investment, luckily there are plenty of metal detectors on the market that are easy to use and don’t require a substantial financial investment.

Shopping for the best entry-level metal detector online, however, can quickly become overwhelming since there are so many options available at a wide range of prices. This article breaks down what to look for when shopping for the best beginner metal detector and shares the key considerations to keep in mind as you shop.

Keep reading for tips on choosing the best option, and explore our curated picks for some of the best metal detectors for beginners.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bounty Hunter Quick Silver Metal Detector
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Minelab Equinox 600 Metal Detector
  4. BEST EASE OF USE: Nokta Makro Simplex+ Metal Detector
  5. BEST WEATHERPROOF: Fisher F22 Weatherproof All-Purpose Metal Detector
  6. BEST UNDERWATER: RM Ricomax Waterproof Metal Detector
  7. BEST FOR KIDS: National Geographic Junior Metal Detector
The Best metal Detectors for Beginners Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Metal Detectors for Beginners

While it’s easy to assume that all metal detectors offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Features like weight, operating frequency, ground balance, search modes, and weatherproofing can make one a better fit for a user’s needs than another option. Keep reading to learn about these important features to consider when shopping for the best entry-level metal detector.

Weight

Metal detecting requires hours out in the field—or on the beach—so choosing a lightweight model can be helpful for many users, as many prefer not to haul a heavy piece of equipment around all day. Children and those with back or shoulder issues may particularly appreciate a lightweight model.

Generally speaking, higher-end metal detectors tend to weigh more, while entry-level models are designed to be light and easy to carry. For the most comfortable searching experience, look for a metal detector that weighs less than 5 pounds. Also consider a model that offers height adjustment, which increases ease of use for both shorter and taller users.

Operating Frequency

A key consideration when choosing a metal detector is its frequency, which is the number of times per second that the signal is sent to the receiver. The lower the frequency, the easier it is to find objects buried deep in the ground. High frequency metal detectors are ideal for finding smaller objects that are closer to the surface.

Most beginner metal detectors are all-purpose, offering a low to medium frequency. When searching for gold, however, higher frequencies are used in order to isolate gold from other more common metals.

Ground Balance

One of the issues that people encounter when using a metal detector is that the earth contains trace amounts of metals that can set the device off even if there’s nothing to be found. Metal detectors with a ground balance feature ignore these natural metals to avoid false readings.

There are several ways in which metal detectors perform ground balancing. Those with an automatic ground balance feature don’t require any user intervention, whereas those with manual ground balancing must be adjusted based on the object the user is seeking. Typically, entry-level metal detectors offer automatic ground balancing for optimal ease of use.

Discrimination Features and Search Modes

A key feature of more advanced metal detectors is target identification. More advanced models not only alert the user when a metal is detected but also take it a step further by actually identifying what type of object has been found.

Some models allow users to set specific search modes to look for coins, relics, jewelry, and more. The device may indicate the type of object found with auditory or visual alerts. Some use an auditory system that generally makes a louder, high-pitched sound when a more valuable object is found and a quieter, more low-pitched sound when a low-value object is detected.

More advanced models have a screen that displays an image indicating the type of object that has been detected. There are also models that have different search modes for types of terrain, allowing users to identify whether they’re working in a field, in a park, or at the beach.

Waterproof/Weatherproof

Since metal detectors are designed to be used outdoors, it’s important that they have some level of weatherproofing. Most models are water-resistant, allowing for them to be used in rainy weather or at the beach without users worrying about them incurring damage.

Some models, however, are designed to be fully waterproof so they can be used underwater. The most advanced waterproof models are even capable of exploring the ocean’s depths while scuba diving. Most waterproof entry-level models simply have waterproof coils, allowing users to search in shallow water.

Be sure to verify the manufacturer’s specifications before using a metal detector in water to avoid damaging the device.

Our Top Picks

Now that you’ve learned more about metal detectors, it’s time to start shopping. The following are our top picks for some of the best beginner metal detectors. These recommendations were selected because of their quality construction, excellent performance, and top-notch ease of use. Whether you’re looking for the best cheap metal detector or a more sophisticated option, the right pick may be below.

Best Overall

The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners Option: Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector
Photo: amazon.com

The Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector is an intermediate-level model that’s suitable for beginners and more experienced users alike. This model features five search modes—Zero (no discrimination), Jewelry, Custom, Relics, and Coins—allowing users to customize what they want to detect. Within these modes, users can narrow their search even further by focusing on specific materials.

Additionally, the metal detector offers a numerical Digital Target ID system that ranges from 0 to 99, with high-conductivity metals providing higher readings and low-conductivity metals indicating lower readings. It operates at a frequency of 8 kilohertz (kHz), which is slightly higher than many other entry-level models on the market and allows for minor frequency adjustments as needed.

This model is lightweight at just 2.8 pounds, so it’s suitable for younger users and those with mobility issues. The length is adjustable from 40 to 53 inches, making this model a good choice for both short and tall users.

Product Specs 

  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Maximum search depth: 8 inches
  • Frequency: 8 kHz (adjustable)

Pros

  • Adjustable length
  • Lightweight design
  • Capable of performing at high frequencies
  • Multiple search modes are available

Cons

  • High price

Get the Garrett metal detector at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Bass Pro Shops

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners Option: Bounty Hunter Quick Silver Metal Detector
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking to try their hand at metal detecting without making a major financial investment may appreciate the affordable price of the Bounty Hunter Quick Silver Metal Detector. This simple device has straightforward controls lending to top-notch ease of use, so it can be an excellent budget metal detector. It offers automatic ground balancing, ensuring that the earth’s natural metals don’t interfere with the detection process. It operates at a low frequency of 6.6 kHz, so it is ideal for searching for metals buried at deeper levels. The depth control is adjustable, and three-tone audio identification alerts users to different types of finds.

The 8-inch search coil is waterproof, allowing users to explore shallow pools and coastlines without risk of damaging the device. At just 1.9 pounds, this metal detector is ultralightweight, and it offers length adjustment, allowing for optimal comfort for users of varying heights. A padded armrest makes long hours of searching even more comfortable.

Product Specs 

  • Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Maximum search depth: 8 inches for coin-size objects; 3 feet for large items
  • Frequency: 6.6 kHz

Pros

  • Features automatic ground balancing
  • Ultralightweight design
  • Features waterproof coil

Cons

  • Lacks advanced controls

Get the Bounty Hunter metal detector on Amazon.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners Option: Minelab Equinox 600 Metal Detector
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking to invest in a high-quality model may appreciate the sophistication of the Minelab Equinox 600 Metal Detector. It offers all of the bells and whistles most users could want from a metal detector as well as some handy extras. It can detect at depths of up to 11 inches, which means that it’s more powerful than most basic models. What really sets this model apart, however, is that it’s fully submersible in up to 10 feet of water, allowing for underwater exploration that goes beyond the shoreline.

It offers three detection modes—Park, Field, and Beach—each of which is ideal for exploring that particular environment. This model also offers adjustable frequencies from 5 to 15 kHz, so it is suitable for both deep detections and finding smaller items like gold. The adjustable range can also make this a perfect gold metal detector for beginners. An accurate target identification system allows users to bypass nails and bottle caps in favor of more high-value metals.

Product Specs 

  • Weight: 2.96 pounds
  • Maximum search depth: 11 inches
  • Frequency: 5, 10, 15 kHz (adjustable)

Pros

  • Fully waterproof design
  • 11-inch search depth
  • Multiple frequency options

Cons

  • High price

Get the Minelab metal detector on Amazon or at Cabela’s

Best Ease of Use

The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners Option: Nokta Makro Simplex+ Metal Detector
Photo: amazon.com

The Nokta Makro Simplex+ Metal Detector offers plenty of professional-level perks at an entry-level price while maintaining a user interface that’s incredibly intuitive and easy to use. It features an 11-inch waterproof search coil and includes a variety of different search modes, all of which are shown on the easy-to-read display screen.

This model has a waterproof rating of IP68, which is suitable for use in depths of up to 10 feet. As a great waterproof metal detector for beginners, it’s also protected in sandy and dusty conditions. One of the things that makes this model incredibly easy to use is the inclusion of LED lights, which illuminate the surrounding area when searching underwater or in low-light conditions. The length is adjustable, extending from 25 to 52 inches.

Product Specs 

  • Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Maximum search depth: 11 inches
  • Frequency: 12 kHz (adjustable)

Pros

  • Fully waterproof design
  • Includes LED lighting for low-light conditions
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • High price

Get the Nokta Makro metal detector at Amazon or on Newegg

Best Weatherproof

The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners Option: Fisher F22 Weatherproof All-Purpose Metal Detector
Photo: amazon.com

Dedicated metal detectors go out in all kinds of weather, so it’s important to choose a model that can handle storms and other hazards. While it’s not rated for underwater use, this model is completely sealed and weatherproof, making it ideal for wet, windy, and dusty conditions. The coil itself is waterproof, but the rest of the device should not be submerged.

Setup is a breeze with this model—users can simply turn it on and start detecting. It’s preset for standard ground conditions, so users don’t need to fiddle with any controls to specify what type of terrain they’re working on. The target identification system is extremely precise, displaying a number between 1 and 99 to let users know if they’ve discovered iron, foil, nickels, gold, zinc coins, copper, or silver. A four-tone audio ID system lets users know what they’re about to uncover without even looking at the screen.

Product Specs 

  • Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Maximum search depth: 9 inches
  • Frequency: 7.69 kHz

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Weatherproof and completely sealed
  • Easy to use
  • Comprehensive user controls

Cons

  • Only coil is waterproof

Get the Fisher metal detector on Amazon or at Cabela’s

Best Underwater

The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners Option: RM Ricomax Waterproof Metal Detector
Photo: amazon.com

Want to unearth buried treasure on your next underwater adventure? Then the RM Ricomax Waterproof Metal Detector can be the perfect tool to bring along. It’s capable of operating up to 100 feet below the water’s surface, allowing for deep-sea exploration and discovery. It’s ultralightweight at just 0.6 pounds, so it can be easy to bring along while swimming. When metals are detected, it vibrates and flashes an LED bulb.

While this model works wonders underwater, it’s not quite as sophisticated for use on land. It only has a maximum search depth of 2.2 inches, so it won’t detect metals buried deeper underground. It can make a fun toy for kids, but it doesn’t have any of the advanced features of the other picks on our list.

Product Specs 

  • Weight: 0.6 pounds
  • Maximum search depth: 2.2 inches
  • Frequency: N/A

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Works up to 100 feet underwater
  • Signals with vibrations and LED lights
  • Ultralightweight design

Cons

  • Low search depth

Get the RM Ricomax metal detector on Amazon

Best for Kids

The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners Option: National Geographic Junior Metal Detector
Photo: amazon.com

Kids with a burgeoning interest in metal detection can certainly use models designed for adults, but this metal detector is designed specifically with little ones in mind. Despite being made for kids, it actually performs admirably, with a 7.5-inch probe that allows users to detect objects up to 7 inches underground. The coil itself is waterproof, letting users search in shallow pools. The sensitivity level is adjustable, though the system isn’t particularly sophisticated. It comes with five replica gold doubloons that parents can hide for little ones, allowing them to find special treasures when they’re getting started.

It weighs just 1.5 pounds, so it is easy to carry, and the length is adjustable to suit children of different ages and heights. For optimal comfort, it has an ergonomic handle and a plush arm strap. It also folds down to a compact size, which is easy to store and transport.

Product Specs 

  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Maximum search depth: 7 inches
  • Frequency: N/A

Pros

  • Adjustable length
  • Lightweight design
  • Features waterproof coil
  • Works up to 7 inches underground

Cons

  • Lack of advanced controls

Get the National Geographic metal detector on Amazon

Our Verdict

After reviewing this guide, you now know more about shopping for a beginner’s metal detector. For most typical users, we recommend the Garrett metal detector for its top-notch performance and advanced controls. Those on a budget may appreciate the Bounty Hunter metal detector, which offers great performance at a lower price point.

How We Chose the Best Metal Detectors for Beginners

Years of experience covering electronics as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 30 metal detector options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.

  • Weight: A lightweight design is a top priority for most users, so we omitted any models that weighed more than 3 pounds.
  • Discrimination features: We prioritized models that offer advanced discrimination features so users can specify the type of metals.
  • Price: Metal detectors are available at a wide range of price points. Aside from our Upgrade Pick, we ensured that all of our recommended products were under $300 in order to be suitable for beginners.

FAQs

While you now know more about choosing the best metal detectors for beginners, you might still be looking for more information about how to use them. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about using a metal detector.

Q. What equipment do I need for metal detecting?

A metal detector is the only thing you need to get started with metal detecting.

Q. Which metal detector is the easiest to use?

We recommend the Nokta Makro metal detector for optimal ease of use because of its intuitive interface and clear user controls.

Q. Are cheap metal detectors any good?

Prices for metal detectors vary widely, from under $100 to more than $2,000. Higher-end models tend to offer better performance, but inexpensive ones are a great place to start for beginners who are new to the hobby.

Q. Can anyone use a metal detector?

Most entry-level metal detectors are incredibly easy to use. However, newcomers to the hobby may benefit from reaching out to a local club or organization to shadow an experienced detector on a hunt to learn how to get the most out of the tool.

Q. Which metal detector can I use in the water?

Before using a metal detector in the water, it’s important to verify its waterproof rating. While some metal detectors have waterproof coils, others can be fully submerged in water without incurring damage.