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Lifewire / Rebecca Isaacs
Small, compact design
A light frame and easy to understand interface makes the Bounty Hunter Junior the perfect entry-level metal detector for kids.
Whether you’re interested in starting metal detecting as a new hobby or introducing the little ones to the hobby, many choices exist for metal detecting equipment. With an adjustable neck and a 1.5-pound, lightweight frame, the Bounty Hunter Junior Metal Detector aims to serve as the perfect introductory detector. Its compact design is bolstered by a simple interface and long battery life.
Since it’s geared toward children and people first dipping their toes into metal detecting, the Bounty Hunter Junior is simple in terms of design and interface. The detector as a whole measures 22x6x5 inches and is a feather-light 1.5 pounds. The plastic handle doesn’t come with the padding or straps of other, higher-end models, but it’s still comfortable to hold. We were able to use it in warm weather without experiencing discomfort.
The perfect introductory detector.
Another perk is the easy to understand interface. With only two knobs and a simple indicator, it’s easy for both kids and adults alike to understand when they’ve stumbled across a metal object.
Setting up the Bounty Hunter Detector is quite easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The detector does not come with the necessary two 9V batteries, so you’ll need to pick those up beforehand. The battery compartment is located just under the handle grip. Push the lid off, snap the batteries in place, and when the compartment is closed the detector should be functional. There's also a simple battery test to ensure that the detector is primed and ready.
With the setup finished, we took the Bounty Hunter Junior out to test on park hiking trails.
We followed the instructions, putting the search coil about a half an inch off the ground and moving it in half-circle motions. One important thing to keep in mind is that you should keep the coil as parallel to the ground as possible, otherwise you won’t get good results.
To fine-tune your results, you’ll need to adjust the right knob which is used for metal (trash) elimination. If you want to focus on certain metals, such as gold or iron, then you can twist the knob to a certain angle and it will only sound when you pass over the indicated metal. Bounty Hunter claims you should be able to detect gold, silver, brass, aluminum, iron, and steel.
The detector was also really good at picking up items at closer distances.
We tried this on the trails, focusing on iron and nickel. When the indicator beeped at us at a very high volume we dug the spot, but discovered that the detector wasn’t pinpointing those specific metals. Furthermore, it was also supposed to increase in sound as the coil passed closer to the metal objects. In practice, we found that it just beeped at us without increasing in volume. We didn’t mind this, however, as we still knew we were on track for finding the objects in question.
On the plus side, one of the things that worked in the Bounty Hunter Detector’s favor was its easy adjustability. The neck of the detector has a tube clamping that can be released to extend or shorten tube length. This was a really nice feature as we hiked hills and cliffsides. Because it’s less than 1.5 pounds, we could hike for extended periods of time without feeling like we were getting a full-body workout. That’s a big bonus for smaller children.
The detector was also really good at picking up items at closer distances. During our hikes, the detector beeped at bottle caps and some old, buried barbed wire. It also sounded off a few times when we were digging a foot or two into the ground. Supposedly, this detector can locate large items up to two feet deep, but we weren’t able to find anything that deep. A last, important note: the manual specifically states that the detector isn’t waterproof so we don’t recommend it for trying to find anything underwater, though it should handle a light drizzle fine.
After testing the Bounty Hunter Junior out for hours, we were pleased that we never had to swap the batteries. Two 9V batteries will allow you to have hours of fun with the kids without having to fuss with backups.
At around $50 on Amazon, this is a very nicely-priced metal detector. While it doesn’t come with any bells and whistles, such as waterproof capabilities or depth perception meters, the Bounty Hunter Junior Detector is a great value for young kids or adults looking to start metal detecting as a hobby.
The Bounty Hunter line also comes with a fancier model called the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV Metal Detector. While the Bounty Hunter Junior retails for around $50, the Tracker IV costs around $100. The Junior is designed with simplicity in mind and has minimal features, while the Tracker IV has more in-depth metal elimination and two-tone metal discrimination.
In terms of design, the Tracker is accompanied by a comfortable armrest and handgrip, weighing a heavier 3.7 pounds. The Junior Detector removes all the bells and whistles, focusing on lightness and metal detecting, and weighs just 1.5 pounds. For those who are just beginning metal detecting as a hobby, the Bounty Hunter Junior is the better choice, but the Tracker IV will be better for more intermediate users.
A great starter metal detector for younger children and adult beginners.
If you’re looking to take up metal detecting as a new hobby, the Bounty Hunter Junior is a solid choice. The basic features and metal elimination is good enough for those who are interested in trying out the hobby without investing too much money. It’ll work best for kids due to the small size and weight, but it’s a decent choice for adult beginners too.