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The best metal detectors offer great range and high accuracy, and perhaps most importantly, are really user-friendly and easy to use. They also don't cost an absolute fortune, and represent a good value based on their feature set and design, so even if you don't uncover a treasure trove of pirate's booty you won't feel like you've squandered a huge amount of money.
Our top pick, the evocatively named Bounty Hunter TK4 at Amazon, is the perfect example: it's inexpensive, a breeze to use, and even lets you focus on which materials you're specifically looking to detect.
For more of the best metal detector picks, check out our list below, or for a look at some of the best radar detectors, our roundup has you covered.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ergonomically designed to be used for hours on end, the Fisher F75 offers amateur and professional treasure hunters their best shot at finding fortunes on the beach. Powered by two AA batteries, the F75 can withstand up to 40 hours of use. A rain cover and waterproof search coils also keep the device safe from ocean mist and errant waves.
The F75 includes a unique double-filter discrimination mode which is well-suited to searching trash-heavy areas — like the beach — as it attempts to distinguish between junk and items of value. Given its sensitivity in searches, the F75 is best for experienced metal detector users who can quickly distinguish false positives from treasure. For non-beginners, the deep set of options and settings make the F75 a standout selection for treasure hunting, and at just around four pounds, it’s easy to hold for hours on end without feeling tired or cramping. Despite its complexity, the F75 sets a very high bar in performance for beach hunting.
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.
While not everyone can be a pirate plundering for treasure, purchasing the Fisher Gold Bug metal detector can help you discover gold hiding beneath the surface. The Fisher is ideally suited for gold searches by utilizing a discriminatory mode which selectively looks for just one type of metal like gold. Also helping the Fisher stand out is its ability to find items in a fixed position without waving the metal detector back and forth as is often the case with competitor models. This non-traditional discovery method assists with pinpoint location hunting and ultimately leads to finding treasure with a high-level of precision.
Dual ¼ and ⅛-inch headphone jacks are built in both for eliminating outside noise and improving your ability to hear the beep of the metal detector when it finds gold or other rare metals. Powered by a single 9-volt battery, the Gold Bug can perform up to 25 hours of continuous searching for items as deep as 12 inches — that's nearly 4 inches deeper than similarly priced non-Fisher models.
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.
The Garrett Pro-Pointer is an all-terrain waterproof metal detector that can find metal no matter if it's under land or sea. It's waterproof up to 10 feet and highly sensitive, allowing it to detect small targets. You can also retune with a button press so it can narrow the detection field to pick up larger targets. There area a total of three sensitivity levels which can work in a variety of environments including mineralized ground and wet beach sand. As an added bonus, the detector has a flashlight for low-light settings, and the bright orange color adds to visibility underwater.
The Bounty Hunter TK4 (view on Amazon) is the best all-around (and certainly one of the most popular) metal detectors currently available, with a killer feature set and rugged design at a very reasonable price. For an awesome waterproof option to accompany you to the beach, consider Garret's AT Pro (view on Amazon).
LCD screen - Basic metal detectors use a needle, audible beeps, and other methods to convey information. If it’s in your budget, look for a metal detector that includes an LCD screen that provides important information about buried objects, like what type of metal they’re composed of.
Headphone jack - If you want to block out the noise around you so you can focus on finding hidden treasures — or if you just want to avoid broadcasting your finds — look for a metal detector that has a headphone jack. Some metal detectors come with headphones, but a unit that has a built-in jack allows you to plug in any earbuds or headphones you like.
Discriminator - The best way to avoid digging up a lot of trash is to choose a metal detector that has an excellent discriminator. This is a microprocessor that the metal detector uses to differentiate between junk (like aluminum cans) and more interesting finds like old coins.