Hobbies are often easy to get into but not so easy to advance in, and metal detecting is one of the more technical hobbies. It’s easy to start finding bottlecaps on the beach, but it can be challenging to find real treasures. But like other hobbies, reading as much as you can about metal detecting is a great way to help you get started. But which books should you read to improve your skills?
That’s why we compiled this list. Whether you’re a beginner that wants to know how to start or a more experienced hobbyist who wants to learn a particular skill, these books will take you where you want to be with your metal-detecting skills!
The Best Metal Detecting Books
1. Metal Detecting for Beginners: The New Easy QuickStart Guide
Author: Travis Dixon
Metal Detecting for Beginners is perfect for absolute beginners who haven’t even bought a metal detector yet.
This book will guide you through everything you need to know to get started. It lists some of the best metal detectors for beginners to buy (see our picks here) and essential metal detection tools you can even afford on a budget.
Travis Dixon does an excellent job explaining the terminology and technical details of metal detection, then tells you how to use your equipment to start finding treasures. It even contains a list of places to sell your finds quickly.
The book concisely explains the basics and covers everything you need to know if you are an absolute beginner. It’s also an excellent guide for people considering taking up metal detection as a hobby but wanting to see if they will really enjoy it.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few spelling and grammatical errors. It’s clear that the book wasn’t proofread and edited as well as it should have been, which might frustrate some readers. However, the meaning and intention of the author always come over well, and the information contained in its pages is complete enough to make up for the lack of editing.
2. The Metal Detecting Bible
Author: Brandon Neice
The Metal Detecting Bible covers many of the essential points, but it isn’t really for raw beginners. Instead, it’s for those who already have a metal detector and played around with it a bit but want to know more.
It covers an exciting range of content, from the different types of metal detectors to the best places to find specific types of treasure. It also explains the settings you need for particular kinds of items.
The book is well-illustrated with plenty of information, which makes it easy to understand. The information covers everything from the basics to professional advice to help you uncover even the most well-hidden items. Despite how much data it has, the author wrote it using simple language that is easy to read.
However, remember that the book is not for intermediate or professional hobbyists. It’s not a very thick book, so if you already know what you’re doing, you might find it lacking. It is definitely a beginner’s book and not nearly as complete or detailed as the word “Bible” insinuates. However, it is highly informative if you’re still new to the field.
3. Metal Detecting Gold: A Beginner’s Guide to Modern Gold Prospecting
Author: Mark D. Smith
When people begin their metal detection journey, they usually dream of uncovering some valuable stash of gold that’s been long forgotten, only to be disappointed by a multitude of bottlecaps. This book is for those people.
Metal Detecting Gold: A Beginner’s Guide to Modern Gold Prospecting is a goldmine of information for anyone who’s specifically looking for gold. It explains the required settings you should use, the best places to go looking to find gold nuggets or golden items, and the process you should follow to sell the things you uncover.
The book is an easy read. Mark Smith does an excellent job of stating the pros and cons of traversing the wilderness in search of gold, and he explains the process very well. Most of the instructions are simple enough for beginners to understand, but there are also plenty of more advanced tricks and methods you can use to uncover even more gold.
One disadvantage of the book is that it focuses mainly on the United States, indicating the regions where you are most likely to find gold. This is understandable, but a broader range of countries and locations would be welcome. It’s also not meant for seasoned gold prospectors, so if you’ve already read up about this specific topic, you will probably not learn much.
4. How To Research for Treasure Hunting and Metal Detecting
Author: Otto von Helsing
How To Research for Treasure Hunting and Metal Detecting is an excellent resource for seasoned metal detecting enthusiasts who want to up their game and get better loot.
The book doesn’t go much into the technical side of metal detecting. Instead, it focuses on how you should find places to go with your metal detector in your hand. It tells you how to research and identify likely spots to find hidden coin stashes or forgotten treasure caches by examining an area’s history or getting leads from others.
The author is a seasoned veteran who retired from metal detecting after many great successes, as confirmed by his anecdotes and practical advice. It’s also an easy read that will excite you about the possibilities of treasure hunting with your metal detector.
As with similar titles, it’s very much focused on the continental United States, though, so it will have limited value for anyone not based in the US. However, much of the advice can still be applied to many other countries. It’s also better to buy a physical copy of this book rather than the digital one since many of the charts are nearly unreadable on Kindle.
5. Metal Detecting the Beach
Author: Mark D. Smith
As its title states, Metal Detecting the Beach is a book all about how to find the best treasures on any beach worldwide. So, if you live near a beach or are planning your next holiday with your metal detector in your hand, this is the book for you!
The author explains a few basics, like metal detecting terminology and different water metal detectors, but then he details where you can find the best loot on a beach. He also explains how the weather or tides can affect the treasures you can uncover and the best times to go hunting.
The book is easy to read and contains excellent safety tips, research techniques, and professional beach metal detecting tactics. Mark D. Smith is a respected author in the metal detection community, and this book shows exactly why that is.
On the negative side, the author tends to over-explain simple concepts a bit. This is great for beginners, but the book assumes that you already understand the basics of metal detecting, making some explanations somewhat redundant and repetitive.
6. The ABCs of Metal Detecting
Author: Kati Schmidt
One look at The ABCs of Metal Detecting will tell you that this book is for kids interested in treasure hunting (like most kids are) and metal detecting.
The book follows the adventures of Banks the Bug as he explores the world in search of hidden treasure with his metal detector. Despite being story-based, it is full of tips, tricks, and techniques that can help kids (and beginners of any age) get to grips with the basics of metal detecting.
The illustrations are vibrant, and the story is engaging. Still, most importantly, the book is excellent at fostering and boosting children’s sense of adventure while teaching them about good treasure-hunting practices using metal detectors.
On the downside, even though absolute beginners may learn something, it’s undoubtedly a children’s book and should not be seen as an exhaustive metal detecting guidebook. It should purely serve as a way to get your kids or grandkids interested in the hobby so they can pick up the rest as they go along.
7. The Metal Detecting Handbook
Author: Mark Smith
The Metal Detecting Handbook: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Uncovering History, Adventure, and Treasure is an excellent all-around guide for beginners and those with intermediate experience in metal detecting.
The book is quite comprehensive and covers a wide range of topics, with sections dedicated to beginners and others for those with more experience. It simplifies the jargon and explains all the technical aspects of metal detecting with full-color illustrations. It starts with the basics and works through to the more complex elements, making it the best metal detecting book.
It’s written by one of the well-known authors in the industry, and it’s clear that he knows what he’s talking about. He emphasizes points with exciting stories of treasure he found and the techniques he used to find it, making this an entertaining and informative read.
It is not an advanced guidebook, though. It’s good enough to get you into metal detecting and take your skills up to intermediate level, but if you’re looking for expert-level guidance, this book is not it. Those who have been doing metal detecting for years might pick up a helpful tip here and there but will find the book mostly pointless.
8. Finding Treasure: A Field Guide
Author: W.C. Jameson
Finding Treasure: A Field Guide is a book that assumes you already know how a metal detector works and how to discover basic treasures. It caters specifically to those with more experience in the field who want to improve the quality of the items they find.
The guide doesn’t cover any of the technical aspects of metal detection. Instead, it focuses on where you can go to find the best loot, how to locate it, and things you can do to protect your claim on any items you discover.
It’s a practical book that doesn’t focus on just one region; it offers valuable information you can use anywhere in the world (even going into detail on finding items in your attic). There are also excellent tips about safety and legal requirements, all explained with colorful real-life stories and examples from an experienced treasure hunter.
As great as the book is, it’s more about treasure hunting than understanding your metal detector. So, even though the book itself says it’s for beginner to advanced levels, that’s not really the case, and newcomers will have to supplement it with another book to cover the basics.
9. Advanced Detecting
Author: John Lynn
Advanced Detecting is a guidebook for experienced metal detection enthusiasts to sharpen their skills and improve their find rates.
The book briefly covers some metal detection basics, but it goes in-depth into the problems you might experience in the field and the possible solutions to those problems. It even covers some of the most basic mistakes that people make when using their metal detectors that could drastically reduce their success rate. Even if you think you’re using it perfectly, there’s a chance that you’re not!
The book is comprehensive, comprising 16 detailed chapters examining simple and complex metal detection concepts. It’s full of graphs and illustrations to help you clearly understand what you can do to improve your skills and get better results.
Unfortunately, the book is slightly dated by now, being almost two decades old, which means that some of the pointers don’t apply to modern metal detectors anymore. But those cases are isolated, and most of the information is valuable and practical and will still apply today.
10. The Advanced Handbook on Modern Metal Detectors
Author: Charles L. Garrett
The Advanced Handbook on Modern Metal Detectors might be the most comprehensive metal detecting book available.
The author covers nearly everything you need to know about metal detectors and the field of metal detecting with topics for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and professional-level enthusiasts. It’s a comprehensive reference guide you can read through and take with you when you go out as an easy guide when facing a particular problem or challenge.
There’s very little that this book doesn’t cover, from the technical features of your metal detector to the details of where and how you should find specific items. It covers research, scientific and historical data, and plenty of practical, real-life tips. It really shines as a reference guide that you can quickly refer to for specific guidance and explanations.
There are two downsides to this book, though. Firstly, it’s not an easy read, and most people won’t want to put in the effort to read it from cover to cover, but that’s not its intended purpose. Secondly, it is very dated, having been released in 1985. That said, apart from the technical specifications of metal detectors, most of the information is still accurate and relevant today.
All these metal detecting books have their value and merit, but they should suit your level of knowledge and experience. Metal Detecting for Beginners by Travis Dixon is the best metal detecting book for newcomers since it covers most of the essential information you need to get started.
Overall, the best metal detecting book is The Metal Detecting Handbook by Mark Smith. It covers everything you need to know as a metal detection enthusiast, from beginner-level information to methods that the pros use to help you master the craft in record time.
However, keep in mind that books are only theory, so go get your hands dirty and meet some fellow detectorists.