Best Metal Detector For Beginners

by Chad Eicher

What is the best metal detector for beginners?

Searching for coins or artifacts in soil by a metal detector is a relatively new but gaining popularity kind of hobby.

This fascinating hobby makes you feel like a real treasure hunter, and sometimes the finds can be profitably sold.

But you should know that it is important to make the right choice of a metal detector initially to prevent disappointment.

These are my recommendations for the best metal detector for beginners.

Top 6 Beginner Metal Detectors 2022

1. Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector – Optimal Combination Of Features
2. Fisher F22 – Best Metal Detector For Extreme Conditions
3. Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV – Most Affordable Metal Detector
4. Pancky PK0075 Metal Detector – Good For Shallow Water
5. Garrett ACE 400 – The Most Feature Rich Metal Detector
6. Minelab X-TERRA 305 – Good Price/Performance Metal Detector

Below is a list of the best metal detectors for beginners.

1. Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector – Optimal Combination Of Features

Garrett ACE 300

Garrett ACE 300 has a good search depth, ergonomic design, and simplicity of use for a very reasonable price. It’s recommended for search on beaches, in abandoned settlements, for competitions.

The discrimination scale of the detector shows the VDI values, which range from 0 to 99 and divided into 12 sectors.

Small numbers (under 45) correspond to a group of finds containing iron or steel. Values closer to 90 show non-ferrous metals.

You can exclude any values manually for searching selected metals only. The tone identification function allows you to determine a type of metal aurally. It is also possible to set a filter to ignore metal trash, such as bottle caps.

There are five automatic preset modes for inexperienced users. The digital display shows how deep an object is underground.

A cover for the search coil, a cover for the control box, and headphones are included in the package.

Read our detailed Garrett ACE 300 review

Pros
  • 8 kHz detection frequency
  • push-button control
  • VDI mapping
  • automatic modes
  • strong bar with collet clamps
Cons
  • does not remember settings
  • not sensitive to small bronze pieces

2. Fisher F22 Metal Detector – Best For Extreme Conditions

Fisher F22

Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector is made of solid plastic. It doesn’t afraid of hitting, temperature changes, getting wet, or exposure to the sun.

This is an important feature because metal detecting usually takes place outdoor, and the weather is often unpredictable.

You can also easily do a search in shallow water or at a depth of about 2 meters underwater by this device. The weight of 2,2 lbs makes working with the detector simple and comfortable.

The Fisher F22 is equipped with a 9-inch drop-shaped submersible search coil. This unusual shape allows you to use a tool among the roots of trees, in the corners of stone foundations, and other hard-to-reach spots. It is also waterproof, meaning you can use it in shallow water, wet sand and other waterlogged areas.

This model from F series has a straightforward, intuitive interface. Three pre-installed modes are for searching jewelry, coin, and artifacts of ferrous and non-ferrous metal. You can adjust the sensitivity and selectivity manually also.

The display shows the depth of an object and the scale of exceptions. The tool runs on 2 AA batteries. It’s enough for 25 hours of metal detecting.

➜  Check out our in-depth review of the Fisher F22

Pros
  • dynamic and pinpoint search modes
  • manual discriminator
  • storing program settings
  • 5-year warranty
  • lightweight
  • affordable price
Cons
  • low search depth
  • no screen backlight

3. Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV – Most Affordable Option

Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV

This model is the most budget-friendly detector on our list.

It will be suitable for those who would like to try out treasure hunting with a limited budget.

The operating frequency of Tracker IV is 6.7 kHz. It can detect a coin on the depth of 8 inches and a military helmet on the depth of 35 inches.

There are two rotary controls on the front panel. The left one is used to configure a sensitivity and the right one for adjusting discrimination. There is a goal indicator between them.

In fact, there are only two methods of search possible: all metals and discrimination. You can select one of them by a special toggle. It also turns on a tone audio mode.

The display is very simplistic and a bit old-styled. Therefore, this tool is just right for fans of such an old-school style metal detecting.

➜ Read our in-depth review of the Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV

Pros
  • automatic ground balance
  • easy to assemble and manage
  • knob control interface
Cons
  • no preset modes
  • no static mode
  • the bar is not equipped with an additional collet
  • high energy consumption

4. Pancky PK0075 Metal Detector – Good For Shallow Water

Pancky PK0075

The PANCKY PK0075 metal detector features five modes of operation, each designed to effectively search for specific types of metal. The IP68 waterproof design means that it can be used in shallow water with no problem. The upgraded DSP chip improves the search range and sensitivity, while the large color LCD display makes it easy to see the type of metal target, depth, recognition, and sensitivity level. The ergonomic design includes an adjustable armrest and an anti-slip handle for added comfort and convenience.

The PANCKY PK0075 metal detector is a great machine to get started in the hobby of metal detecting.

However, it is important to keep in mind that this model is not that sensitive or accurate, and it may not be able to detect a gold nugget.

Still, it is a great entry-level machine and can help you learn the basics of metal detecting. In addition, the PANCKY PK0075 metal detector comes with a 2 Year Limited Warranty, so you can be sure that your investment is protected.

Pros
  • detects metals up to 10 feet deep
  • good for shallow water
  • adjustable sensitivity level
  • ergonomic design for easy use
Cons
  • not that sensitive or accurate
  • not good for gold nugget detection

5. Garrett ACE 400 Metal Detector – The Most Feature Rich

Garrett ACE 400

The sensitivity of the Ace 400 increased to 10 kHz compared to its “younger brother” Ace 300. Thus the quality of a search has risen a lot.

Garrett Ace 400 detects even very small objects made of precious metals: gold, silver, bronze.

You can determine the projection of the target location with an accuracy of a half an inch by the pinpoint mode. And the vertical scale in the right corner of the screen helps to establish the approximate depth of a goal.

There are 5 preset modes. Modes differ from each other in the ratio of sensitivity and discrimination settings. You can quickly exclude trash after finding a bottle cap. You should move a coil above the object and press the exclusion button.

One more key feature of ACE 400 is the waterproof PROformance professional search coil. The element is made of an innovative plastic and a special compound filling of a sole.

In addition, the package includes a protective case. Such a detector is not afraid of random strokes, getting wet in the rain, and walking along the coast.

➜ You can read our in-depth review of the Garrett Ace 400 here

Pros
  • high sensitivity
  • waterproof search coil
  • 5 search modes with the possibility of correction
  • VDI on display
  • tone mode IRON AUDIO
Cons
  • relatively high price

6. Minelab X-TERRA 305 – Good Price/Performance Metal Detector

Minelab X-TERRA 305

X-Terra 305 metal detector is made according to modern digital technology VFLEX.

A distinctive feature of this device is two operating frequencies: 7.5 kHz and 18.75 kHz. The low frequency penetrates deep into the soil and allows you to find objects at great depths. High frequency is able to find the smallest pieces of metal.

The tool has a manual setting to the ground balance. There are a lot of the remains of various metal trash, minerals with different electrical conductivity, brick, ceramics, and other shards in the ground. X-Terra 305 allows you to adjust the detector from soil interference and conduct a search with a maximum detection depth.

There is also a detuning from electrical noise. It will be necessary when you will have to work closely with other metal detectors, in the attic, in the basement, at the gathering of treasure hunters or near the power line.

There are no pre-installed factory modes in this device. It will be necessary to exclude some of the 12 segments of the selectivity scale manually. But you can adjust a special sound for each of the segments and work without looking at the screen.

Pros
  • two working frequencies
  • VDI displays on the screen
  • pinpoint mode
  • audio mode
  • ease to use
  • minimum energy consumption
Cons
  • no automatic settings
  • only manual detuning ground balance
  • fragile mounts

Guidelines for Choosing the Best Metal Detector for Beginners

The great variety and many unclear functions of top rated metal detectors sometimes put novices at a standstill. It can be challenging to distinguish between the main features and the secondary ones without special knowledge. You should give high priority to the points below when choosing your first metal detector.

1. Frequency

It indicates a number of electric waves that the device emits. Frequency determines the ability of a device to passage into deep layers of the soil and notice targets.

All detectors are classified by frequency:

  • Up to 2.5 kHz. They are the least effective and able to recognize only massive objects that lay not deep under the ground;
  • Up to 7 kHz. They do not have a high sensitivity but capable of searching at a depth up to 3 ft. It is quite suitable for people who have chosen the search for metals as a hobby.
  • Up to 20 kHz. They relate to semi-professional devices and able to recognize non-ferrous metals.
  • Multifrequency. They are used by professionals and have many features and settings. The high cost distinguishes such detectors. However, in skilled hands, they quickly pay off.

2. Discrimination

Often beginners make a mistake when they choose a detector by the maximum depth of signal penetration. This characteristic does not provide complete information. You can be disappointed when you’ll start to dig and will find an aluminum can at a depth of 10 ft. An essential function of a detector is discrimination or selectivity.

The term “discrimination” means exclusion for objects that are undesirable for detection based on their electric conductivity. As a rule, the discriminator is displayed graphically on the screen and divided into several segments.

The more of these segments the model has, the more accurately you can narrow your search. Owing to discrimination, ferrous metal can be distinguished from non-ferrous one, and this allows you to detect more valuable objects. Thus, it is possible to exclude iron and aluminum objects from the search and focus on finding only jewelry made of gold and silver.

3. VDI

Numerical VDI or Target-ID is displayed on some digital devices. VDI value will more accurately show what kind of metal you have found. At first, you look at the discriminator. Then at the VDI value and after that, you decide whether to dig or to pass it by.

If the discriminator has less than 10 segments, the VDI value will be the weighty argument prompting to start digging. Not every tool has this function, but it significantly increases the comfort and productivity of a search.

4. Size and Shape of a Search Coil

There is no universal search coil for a metal detector. Different coils are suitable for each specific place and purpose. For example, large ones that can cover a large area will not bring success in places with lots of metal trash. It’s convenient to work with small “snipers” in such a place.

For metal detecting at a depth, typically, a concentric (mono) type of a coil is used. Another type, Double-D (DD), works best at a shallower depth, but it can cover a noticeably larger area. Such a coil is effective by working with highly electrically charged soil.

There are advanced smart coils that are universal and able to adapt to any situation. In any case, it is always convenient to have an additional replaceable search coil on hand.

5. Pinpoint Mode or Static Search Mode

This function determines the exact location of the goal. Pinpoint option simplifies the process of extracting an artifact from the ground and ensures that you do not damage it with a shovel. It helps to save energy and begin to dig up the target in the right place.

In pinpoint mode, the detector works without discrimination. This feature is essential for digital devices that have a slow response from the target. Analog models have an extremely fast response from the target. That’s why many of them are not equipped with such a function.

6. Audio Mode

A circuit of identification by sound is arranged in its own way in every metal detector. In fact, the sound is a primary source for us because we hear it first, and then we look at the display.

Sound can inform us about the different properties of an object. We can find out the conductivity of the found metal by the tone of a sound. Low sound can point on ferrous metal; we can pass it by. High-pitched sound says that it can be something more interesting.

The setting of sound identification is purely individual. You should set it at your convenience. Do not change the settings too often, as the human brain gets used to certain signals, and a picture of sound models of certain targets will be already formed in your head. With the gain of experience, you will be able to determine the meaning of a sound as soon as you hear it.

7. Ground Balance

This function reduces the number of false positives from the electrically charged soils. Some devices have a factory preset of the ground balance. This setting is very rough. As a result, we have a tool that works steadily on almost any types of ground conditions, but it’s inferior by the depth of signal penetration to detectors without fixed settings.

The best choice for a beginner is a model with an automatic configuration. Manual configuration is necessary only for professionals in individual cases.

8. Water Resistance

Weatherproofing and waterproofing are undoubted pros for a device. This not only protects the model from wet and rain but also makes it possible to search along the coastline or in small bodies of water.

However, it should be borne in mind that ground devices are not suitable for a deep dive. You will need an underwater metal detector for this purpose. It is not afraid of saltwater and has the feature to fully immerse on 60-100 ft. in the water.

9. Dimensions and Weight

Last but not least, pay attention to the weight of the tool when you are going to buy it. You have to carry the device and all the additional equipment for several hours. Long trips should be fun, and not turn into torment.

The device should be comfortable to hold in your hand. It is also important that it could be assembled and disassembled quickly and without any problems.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best gold detector for a beginner?

For most beginners we recommend the Garrett metal detector as our top pick, because it’s easy to use and combines the most features for the price. Having said that, the Fisher F22 metal detector comes a close second.

2. Are cheap metal detectors any good?

Naturally, everyone wants to buy an inexpensive metal detector. However, it should be borne in mind that the lower the price of the metal detector, the less depth it can detect an object. It will have fewer functions (ground balance, pinpoint mode, etc.) and a very weak level of metal discrimination. However, after comparing the best metal detectors, you can find the right option and choose the device for your needs, taking into account the “price-performance” criterion.

3. Is it worth buying a metal detector?

It’s worth it if you don’t have a place to borrow or rent it. It would only be wiser to buy a simple device to start with, for example, Garrett ACE 300 or Fisher F22. They are very good for beginnerseasy to use, and they are inexpensive.

4. What should I look for when buying a metal detector?

When choosing a metal detector, pay attention to the following characteristics:

  • Manufacturer. Do not buy dubious Chinese fakes. They may be useless in action.
  • The presence of audio output. Ideally, there should be a function to connect a wireless headset.
  • Power type. It can be an accumulator or replaceable batteries.
  • Type of coil. The more powerful it is, the higher the probability of finding a treasure.
  • Working frequency. The wider it is, the better.
  • Product weight. Heavy metal detectors will create discomfort during prolonged use.
  • Cost. The first metal detector should not be too expensive. With experience, you can buy a more professional metal detector model.

5. What type of metal detector should I buy?

  • To search for coins exclusively in the ground, you will need a ground metal detector with automatic ground balancing and a built-in discriminator.
  • If there are small ponds in your area and the law allows you to search in them, then a ground metal detector with a water-proof coil is suitable for you.
  • If you often go on vacation at sea and love deep-sea diving, then you will need a detector for metal detecting underwater.

Conclusion

There are two proven ways to choose the best beginner metal detector so that the acquisition has not become a dead weight, but would contribute to the development of an interesting hobby and maybe would make a profit.

  1. To buy an inexpensive, well-advertised detector, that has positive reviews among specialists. Beginner metal detectors are easy to manage and do not require special skills. After you have studied the tool from A to Z, and know its pros and cons, you can sell it and buy a more advanced model. Do the same again and again, until you become an owner of a professional high-class metal detector. Then the search turns from a hobby into a goal of life.
  2. To buy an expensive smart metal detector immediately. It will be necessary to study the intricacies of working with a complicated device as it is used. This option takes a decent initial investment, but later it becomes more profitable from an economic point of view, although it requires a lot of patience and perseverance.

Even the most advanced tool does not guarantee you luck in a search. The device is not just a magnet for jewelry. The main factor of success is to choose the right place. You should decide what you are going to look for.

For the coins, you should go to the park or on the beach. But for relics and artifacts, it will be better to search in the ancient places of people’s living. The old cartography could be useful in that case.

You should also remember that any tool requires skillful exploitation. Even the most advanced metal detector will be useless if you don’t know how to use its features in a search.

Beginners detector recommendation

➜ Check the guide to choosing the best metal detector

 Best metal detectors for the beach

➜ Best detectors to metal detect underwater

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, metalpursuits.com might receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you

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Article by

Chad Eicher

Detectorist Chad is passionate about metal detecting since he got his first metal detector as a gift when he was 12 years old. He created Metal Pursuits to share his knowledge and create the ultimate metal detecting resource on the web.

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