Choosing your first metal detector can be a daunting task! There are so many manufacturers, models, uses, price ranges and especially disappointing, fake reviews! I have been metal detecting for over 20 years and at least weekly I see these raving reviews on detectors I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy!
Before I get started, I must warn you that this particular topic could go on forever. There are so many variables for each individuals needs to address them all would be impossible. This article should answer some basic questions and help several of you but if you find it doesn’t, reach out to me and I will work with you one on one to help you determine what is best for you.
One more thing before we get started. I am going to list the manufacturers that are known in the hobby that I would recommend. If you don’t find the manufacturers name of a metal detector you’re looking at on this list, buyer beware!
- Bounty hunter
- Nokta Makro
I am familiar with all of the above manufacturers and they are trusted names in the hobby. A few more that are available in the United States is Golden Mask and Deeptech. Both are trusted names in the European market, offered here in the united states but I know very little about them other than I hear great things.
- All of the above detectors mentioned for the U.S. market
- Golden Mask
I hope I didn’t miss any manufacturers but I can say the ones listed are trusted and have been around for a while with proven performance. Any other brand and I would be very cautious!
Here is where it gets tricky. What kind of metal detecting do you plan on doing? If on land are you looking for old coins, new coins, relics or all of the above? What’s your soil conditions like? Is your soil mineralized? Do you want to do some beach and water detecting? If so freshwater or saltwater beaches? How about prospecting? Are you looking for a detector to hunt for gold? Maybe you’re looking for something that will do it all?! Do you have any metal detecting experience? What price range are you looking in? Does weight of the metal detector matter?
The list goes on and on and there are so many variables that can determine what is best for you.
Good Inexpensive Metal Detectors
A few more things to consider… I often get people who want to spend 200 dollars on a detector and expect it to do everything or they want it to do things that just isn’t going to happen. For example, I often find people wanting to spend say 200 dollars, they have the detector picked out and they expect it to find deep coins in heavy modern trash. In most cases, this just isn’t going to happen.
Something else to consider is no metal detector can do it all great. For example, I know of a particular metal detector that is waterproof and will perform great coin, relic and freshwater beach detecting but isn’t going to perform well prospecting or on saltwater beaches. In most cases no metal detector can do it all and do it great but there are a few who are great in particular areas of metal detecting and OK in others.
Recommended Metal Detectors for Beginners
There are two other metal detectors that really stand out to me that perform well beyond the other metal detectors in their price range. The first being the Garrett AT Pro. Although it has been around for several years it is still available new and I’ve seen some great used prices. The AT Pro changed metal detecting completely. In my personal opinion it forced other manufacturers to provide us with more affordable, high performance metal detectors. The AT Pro metal detector is still a solid choice in my book as a great detector that is still relevant. Depending on ones needs I still do occasionally recommend the Garrett AT Pro
The second detector that clearly stands out to me as a game changer is the Nokta Makro Simplex. It can be purchased with wireless headphones for $339.15 and without the wireless headphones for $254.15. It’s a waterproof metal detector that is performing like much more expensive metal detectors when it comes to coin and relic metal detecting. This detector just came available in the fall of 2019 and I’m hearing it is still often hard to get a hold of and sold out. I haven’t seen anything in this price range with this kind of performance, I have several hours on mine and I can tell you not only is it an amazing metal detector but I believe it will leave the other manufacturers scrambling to come out with even more affordable metal detectors. In my personal opinion, in most cases this is what I am recommending to most people getting into the hobby, if it will fit your needs.
Bounty Hunter, Fisher and Teknetics metal detectors are all owned by First Texas. All three have some great entry level detectors. I would recommend if you pick a Bounty Hunter to stick with the Pro line of their detectors. In the mid-price range, the Teknetics Patriot is the same detector as the Fisher F70 but it sports the Teknetics name and is much less expensive.
I recently wrote an article on metal detectors for kids and I talked about the Quest X-10 and X-5. Both are great entry level metal detectors for both adults and children. Easy to use, great performance for the entry level price range and the middle shaft can easily be removed to suit children.
At the higher price range there is some great competition. Nokta Makro Anfibio is a solid performer that is waterproof. XP came out with the ORX and it’s an impressive metal detector that has to be one of the lightest metal detectors on the market if not the lightest. However, it is not waterproof which is something to consider. The Minelab Equinox 800 is probably the most popular higher end metal detector on the market right now and for good reason. It’s probably the most versatile metal detector on the market right now. From saltwater beaches, prospecting, coin and relic hunting it can do it all and well. It is a solid choice for many coin and relic hunters but has also become one of the top go to metal detectors for saltwater beaches.
There are so many great metal detectors out there and we haven’t even touched on specialty metal detectors. In most cases if you’re looking to only do one form of metal detecting I would probably recommend something completely different than any of the metal detectors mentioned but I’m going to wrap it up here for now. I know in many cases this article might not help you for your specific needs and conditions but please feel free to reach out to me and I will do my best to give you some good options. There are just too many variables to write this article and answer every question that needs to be answered for every person.
One last thing I will leave you with. I often see people new to the hobby not budget for much needed accessories. Often times a different size coil can make your metal detector much more versatile. A good pin pointer (from one of the manufacturers mentioned) and good digging equipment can make a world of difference!