The 7 Best Metal Detectors to Buy in 2018

Strike it rich with these must-have metal detectors

Garrett Ace 300 Metal Detector
Photo from Amazon

Whether it’s buried treasure you're after or you just want to pick up a new hobby, a metal detector is a fantastic piece of equipment. And there are a bevy of metal detectors available for all sorts of underground or underwater discoveries. The once-upon-a-time job for old-time pirates is now available to everyone in search of forgotten coins and other potentially shiny prizes. The time to turn scallywag is now, so read on to see our choices for some of the best metal detectors available today.

Best Overall: Fisher F22

If it’s tough conditions that hold your treasure, the Fisher F22 professional-grade weatherproof metal detector is a fantastic choice. Weighing 4.25 pounds and measuring 5 x 8 x 22 inches, the Fisher F22 offers a great search option for jewelry, coins and other lost artifacts. Featuring two AA batteries for hours of searching, the F22 can detect objects up to nine inches deep beneath a surface. The F22 will also offer a readout of how far below the surface the detected object is, so the user has a better idea of how deep they need to dig.

The waterproof search coil helps make the F22 ideal for the beach or rainy conditions. The nine-segment visual and numerical target ID helps identify what is beneath the surface before you even grab for the shovel. Additionally, the four-mode search ability highlights if an object is an unknown artifact, jewelry, coin or custom object. Unfortunately, its water resistance doesn’t make the F22 completely waterproof, which means you can’t completely submerge it in water, but that’s an easy tradeoff for a metal detector with a feature set that’s generally only found in options far pricier.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Garrett Ace 300

Weighing 5.4 pounds and measuring 6 x 11 x 22 inches, the Garrett Ace 300 metal detector is another outstanding choice for small-time treasure hunters and casual hobbyists. Ideal for advanced users through its excellent detection of coins and jewelry, the Garrett offers around 12 inches of depth detection for small items. Controlled via three separate touchpads (Power, Pinpoint and Accept/Reject) and three separate rocker switches (Mode, Sensitivity and Discrimination), the Ace 300 offers a slew of opportunities to set your metal detector to find exactly what you’re looking for.

The five total discriminate modes are easy to select and can help you search for all general metal items or specifically search for jewelry, relics, coins or custom metal objects. Additionally, the Ace 300 offers an easy methodology for determining if you should dig for an object. It even has a tone decibel that includes a “sound of money” ring to decisively tell you if the selected object is worth bringing out the shovel for. Beyond detection, the Ace 300 is powered by a set of four AA batteries providing anywhere between 20 to 40 hours of use.

Best Budget: Hunter TK4 Tracker IV

While there are plenty of inexpensive metal detectors, the Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV is the ideal choice for the budget-minded person. This rugged metal detector offers terrific treasure detection even in extreme conditions, and it's the No. 1 best seller on Amazon. Capable of detecting coin-sized targets up to eight inches deep and larger target objects up to two feet deep, the TK4 can detect gold, silver, brass, aluminum, iron and steel. The non-digital display helps keep the cost down, while the easy-to-use knob interface helps you fidget with depth detection, power and sensitivity controls.

Additionally, the inclusion of a discrimination mode can help focus the search on one specific type of detection, but you can easy switch it to the all-metal detection option to widen your scope. Finally, the eight-inch search coil is submersible in shallow water, the adjustable stem allows for better positioning based on the height of the user and the padded armrest makes for comfortable searches.

Best Entry-Level: Tesoro Silver uMax

If you're just getting your feet wet in the hobby, take a look at the Tesoro Silver uMax. Offering a build quality that is superior to many detectors in the same price range, this 2005 release holds up to the tune of 81 percent five-star reviews on Amazon’s website over a decade after its release. Powered by a nine-volt battery, the uMax lasts far longer than anticipated (though times vary depending on use and type of objects being detected). At 3.2 pounds and measuring 21.3 x 8.8 x 4.7 inches, it’s lightweight with an eight-inch coil covering more than enough real estate to adequately detect hidden objects.

With an ideal depth range of around 12 inches, the uMax offers just enough features to give you what you need, plus some frills and extras that come with more expensive equipment. The lack of reliance on a digital output or display helps keep the cost down and allows beginners to truly understand the nuances of metal detecting and determining what’s a legitimate discovery or a false find.

Best Splurge: XP Deus

If it’s buried treasure you want to find, the XP Deus metal detector plus WS5 headphone set is exactly where you should start. The XP Deus offers an 11-inch coil to cover more overall ground in the hopes of finding something valuable and rare. Combining the strengths of what would traditionally be four separate metal detectors (coin and jewelry, gold prospecting, relic hunting and beach detecting), the XP Deus does it all. You just have to choose one of the four separately distinct frequencies and begin your quest for something beneath the surface. Online reviews highlight the ability of the XP Deus to discover and pinpoint objects that no other metal detector discovered.

With an ultra-light weight of two pounds, the XP Deus is ideal for lengthy search sessions. In addition to being able to download software updates via the PC, the device's coil is also submersible in water. And when you're not combing the beach, it can easily collapse for simple storage.

The included WS5 ear-cup headphones are a true standout set for detecting discriminate noises of detection. Like its attached metal detector, the headphones are fully weatherproof and work to help isolate noise regardless of the outside environment.

Best for Kids: Bounty Hunter BHJS

Metal detecting shouldn't just for the adults. Let the kids get in on the action by purchasing a Bounty Hunter BHJS junior metal detector. This child-focused detector can help locate coin-sized objects up to five inches deep and larger objects up to three feet beneath the surface. Weighing 1.3 pounds and measuring just 5 x 6 x 22 inches, the BHJS is geared for use by kids ages 6 to 12. The easy-to-control interface offers a basic feature set, including sensitivity controls for depth detection.

The BHJS is ideal for detecting the presence of multiple metals, including gold, silver, brass, aluminum and steel in the hopes your child might be the next world-famous treasure hunter. The addition of a preset ground balance offers it the capability to use over various soil types and mineral content and still readily discover hidden objects. The 6.5-inch coil is suitably built for child use and can withstand basic exposure to the elements.

Best Waterproof: The Garrett AT Pro

Looking to step your treasure hunting up a notch? Good news: Not every buried-treasure is on solid ground. So take a look at the Garrett AT Pro metal detector, which offers complete submersion under water for finding lost treasures that went down with ships of centuries past. Capable of full-functionality in up to 10 feet of water, the Garrett works best right off shore, but still allows for searching over reefs and other shallow areas where it’s easy to drop jewelry and other precious metal objects.

Weighing a reasonable 3.03 pounds and measuring at 22 x 11 x 5 inches, the telescoping range of its body works from 42 to 51 inches in length fully extended. The real standout is the AT Pro display and its Digital Target ID that goes from 0 to 99. The number gets progressively higher as the AT Pro determines if an object is worth digging up and maintains a lower number count when it recommends you pass on an object.


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