If you’re looking to start a new hobby, why not try treasure hunting? This fun activity never fails to inspire thousands of people around the globe. However, we’re fully aware of the wide range of metal detecting devices on the market and how challenging it can be to choose the right one.
|Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector
|Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector
|Garrett Ace 400 Metal Detector
|Nokta Makro Simplex+ WHP Waterproof Detector
|Teknetics Delta 4000 Metal Detector
The Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is one of the world’s most popular metal detectors, and for a good reason. It comes with easy-to-use technology and advanced all-around treasure performance. It’s also one of the most highly rated metal detectors on the market. We selected this model because it has everything any beginner treasure hunter could need.
This robust machine can detect coin-size targets up to six inches deep and larger ones up to two feet. It can detect gold, aluminum, iron, silver, steel, and brass metals and comes with three operation modes: all-metal, tone, and full discrimination. These features make the device perfect for various hunt types, including water metal hunting.
The Tracker IV weighs 4.2 pounds, has an adjustable length, and operates on two 9V alkaline batteries.
This model excels in simplicity and compactness, which every beginner treasure hunter will appreciate.
Even though it technically can detect gold, we don’t recommend using this device for gold prospecting. This is because gold nuggets are usually found in highly mineralized areas, and this detector will most likely experience an excessive amount of chatter in such places.
|No manual ground balance
|Lack of iron audio
|All-around metal detector
For a more detailed review of the Tracker IV, check out this YouTube video.
The Fisher F22 is one of the best metal detectors for everyone looking for a durable solution to withstand harsh weather conditions. This incredibly easy-to-use and feature-packed device will be a perfect fit for most beginner treasure hunters and deliver maximum versatility, depth, and high-end technology.
The Fisher F22 is an all-around metal detector with discrimination, sensitivity, and pinpoint features that quickly identify buried targets.
What the Fisher F22 excels at compared to some other detectors is its pinpointing feature. This helps the device find the exact location of a buried object. Usually, it’s hard to isolate long-buried metals as they appear the same as the soil.
Some limitations include not being able to penetrate severe soils. Also, the Fisher F22 is not meant to be used on wet sand saltwater surfaces. It will work just fine on dry sand, however. It may also experience limited performance in some gold prospecting sites.
|Not practical for saltwater hunts
|Target category ID
|Lack of manual ground balance
|Detailed LCD screen
|Four audio ID tones
|Lightweight (3 lbs.)
|Jewelry, coin, artifact, and custom operation modes
You can check out the Fisher F22 YouTube review here.
The Ace 400 is an excellent entry to mid-level line metal detector belonging to a top-rated metal detector series. It made our list due to a wide range of handy features, affordable price, and high versatility. The device also comes with additional features we don’t see in its predecessors.
The ACE 400 model now runs with a 10 kHz operating frequency, making it more sensitive to small targets than the ACE 300 model (runs at 8 kHz). This means that low (and medium) conductivity metals such as gold and lead have a higher chance of getting noticed.
What made the previous Garret models stand out was the DD-configuration PROformance search coil that the ACE 400 model also features.
Hunters will also benefit from the frequency adjust feature that lets them toggle between frequency shifts to eliminate other detector interference. This can come in handy for group hunting events, especially when a fellow detectorist has the same detector model.
Appearance-wise, the recognizable yellow color is still there, which some hunters may find less attractive.
This model requires a lithium metal battery, which is included in the package. In addition, there’s a battery-level indicator on the screen that is especially useful for open field hunting sessions.
Overall, this is an excellent choice for beginner hunters who don’t hunt in wet sand or areas with high mineralization levels.
|Five discrimination modes
|Heavy (5.48 lbs.)
|No manual ground balance
Watch the full Garrett Ace 400 Metal Detector review here.
Are you looking for a fully submersible metal detector for night and underwater use? The Nokta Makro Simplex+ is one such device. The Simplex+ is one of the top-performing creations Nokta has released for beginner-level treasure hunters.
Users praise this model for its maximum depth and a low price tag, and outstanding underwater abilities. This is why the device made our ultimate list.
The Simplex+ is an all-around metal detector most beginner hunters appreciate for its overall versatility. In addition, those with hearing impairments will love that this machine sends vibrations when detecting metal.
Its 12 kHz frequency makes this detector suitable for finding a wide range of metals. There’s also a frequency shift option that allows adjusting electromagnetic interference from other machines that operate at that frequency.
There are four search modes: all-metal, field, beach, and park. The all-metal mode gives off the same tone for different metal types. Therefore, you can use the Target ID scale to assess the metals you detect. In contrast to most detectors in the beginner level, this machine allows ground balancing in the range of 0-99.8 in the beach mode, making it suitable for highly mineralized environments.
The notch discrimination feature is excellent at eliminating signals coming from unwanted objects. You can reject or accept a total of 20 notch segments on the Target ID scale. However, this feature is not available in the all-metal mode.
|Not suitable for diving
Check out a full YouTube review on this link.
Entry-level treasure hunters will be pleased to learn about Teknetics Delta 4000metal detector ideal for coin, relic, and gold hunting. This is the second model in the series, and it comes with enhanced target ID capabilities. This machine is suitable for most beginner hunters thanks to pinpoint control, various preset modes, and its affordable price.
Whether you take this detector for a hunt in the park, beach, or the woods, you won’t be disappointed. Its adjustable discrimination and a three-tone audio ID help focus and differentiate specific items with ease.
If you hear too much chatter at high sensitivity, you can lower the sensitivity to avoid false signals.
The Teknetics Delta 4000 comes with three modes: discrimination (default), all-metal, and pinpoint. It identifies targets in discrimination mode with distinct tones and classifies them by categories on display.
This device runs with a 9-volt alkaline battery exclusively. You shouldn’t use heavy-duty batteries here. It has a pretty decent battery life of 20 to 25 hours, making it convenient for long hunts out in the field.
|No volume control
|Long battery life
|Primitive search modes
You can check out the Teknetics Delta 4000 review and testing video here.
We’ve assembled this buyer’s guide to further explain what features you should look for when purchasing a metal detector. In truth, just like there is no universal best car or smartphone, the same goes for metal detectors. Instead of asking yourself what the best metal detector is, you should rephrase the question to include the type of hunting you’re interested in, your budget, and experience.
What is the main target for your metal hunt? The answer makes a huge difference when it comes to choosing a good metal detecting device. Sure, most detectors will do a great job finding coins, jewelry, or relics, but many solutions out there are made for different uses.
Coins and Jewelry
If you plan on mainly detecting coins or jewelry, go with a lower frequency machine. Avoid models made for gold, for example. The goal here is to stay under 15 kHz for the coin hunt. Also, avoid PI machines (pulse induction machines.) Other than being built for gold prospects, they’re also more suitable for saltwater hunts. In short, you want to stick with very low frequency (VLF) detectors for coin and jewelry hunting.
The majority of all-around metal detectors do a great job at relic hunting. However, in case you’re looking for advanced machines, consider the following features:
- DD search coil
- Higher frequency (10-20 kHz)
- Auto and manual balance
- Adjustable threshold
- Iron audio
Saltwater environment hunters should go for specialty machines. This doesn’t apply for the beach and dry sand hunting, but rather wet surfaces or water hunts. At this point, you want to go for a pulse induction (PI) or multi-frequency machine. Note that pulse induction metal detectors aren’t designed for discrimination. If the hunting takes place on beaches with tons of trash, you’re better off with a multi-frequency solution. The main benefit of PIs is that they can detect materials much deeper in highly mineralized areas. However, the multi-frequency models let you discriminate unwanted targets, and it’s a much more versatile solution you can use in other hunting environments.
Metal detector choice gets much easier when it comes to freshwater hunting. Two factors to keep in mind here are getting a fully submersible detector with excellent discrimination features.
One of the essential factors to consider before making your purchase is your skill level. Is it your first time plunging into metal detecting waters? If you’ve been in business for a while, feel free to skip this section. If not, consider starting from the very basic devices. The last thing you need is becoming demotivated by a super complicated detector you can’t even begin to understand. Think of detectors as phones or cars. All phones can make calls and send texts, just like all vehicles can drive. But what makes one model better than another are the advanced features. The same goes for metal detectors.
Ground Balance / Mineralization
Mineralization is a crucial factor to consider when opting for a metal detector. Ground mineralization levels can significantly impact the performance of your device. The higher the mineralization, the more chatter you’ll receive from the detector. In that case, you should lower its sensitivity, but you’ll end up with reduced depth. Standard entry-level models are prone to struggle with mineralization as they come with a preset ground balance. On the other hand, premium models have automatic and manual ground balance adjustments, letting them put mineralization aside while keeping a decent depth. In short, if you’ll be hunting in high-iron concentration areas or on wet sand, consider spending a bit more on a detector built to handle harsh ground conditions.
One technical thing worth understanding is the detector sensitivity. This feature shows how well the detector can detect specific types and sizes of metal contaminants. The higher the sensitivity, the smaller the metals it detects. Usually, the performance is shown in test sphere diameters from specific metal types such as ferrous, aluminum, etc. To discuss metal detector sensitivity, we refer to ball size diameter. For example, highly sensitive devices can pinpoint 0.6mm ferrous balls.
The discrimination feature is essential when filtering unwanted items during the metal hunt. Considering there aren’t many variables with the same alloys or sizes, the device can’t locate specific metal types. It can, however, make a difference between metallic alloys. This is because each metal object has its own phase shift. For example, silver dimes cause more significant phase shifts than aluminum. This is called discrimination in the metal detector terminology, and it’s what you should look for to avoid catching paper clips instead of gold and iron.
Weight of the Machine
Machine weight is an essential factor to consider if you have specific health issues. For example, if you have shoulder or elbow problems or are limited physically, it’s better to go for a lightweight detector. Also, if you’re purchasing your first metal detector, you may want to go for a lightweight option. We especially recommend light machines for those planning on multiple hour-long hunts.
Having an LCD screen on a metal detector can come in handy for beginners, even though many experienced hunters do just as well detecting by sound. Here are some things a screen can show:
- Target depth
- Target type
- Sensitivity and discrimination
- Battery life
Since there’s an ongoing debate whether hunters need displays or not, the ultimate choice may come down to your personal preference.
Can You Find Gold With a Cheap Metal Detector?
Cheap metal detectors often provide excellent quality and performance. However, finding gold nuggets with these tools is practically impossible. Currently, only a few metal detectors can find gold. There are a few reasons why. First, the gold nuggets are tiny (less than 0.04 ounces) and are usually found in highly mineralized ground. Second, because they lie in soils with a high iron percentage, cheap metal detectors can have a false fit.
What Metals Cannot Be Found With a Metal Detector?
Metal detectors work thanks to electromagnetism. These machines show off time-varying electromagnetic fields and can hear waves that come from conductive items. The metals that don’t have a high conductivity of electricity are considered non-detectable objects. These include stainless steel, bones, diamonds, gemstones, stone, and paper figures.
How Much Do You Need to Spend to Get a Decent Metal Detector?
If you’re up for purchasing high-end, all-around metal detectors, you should set aside at least $300 to $400. Ultimately, this depends on the purpose of your purchase. If you don’t plan on gold hunting, you don’t have to splash out thousands of dollars.
The Final Race
After carefully analyzing the features of each detector on our list, we think the Nokta Makro Simplex+ is the best metal detector for beginners. Thanks to its high versatility, underwater use features, and affordable pricing, we find it the most convenient device to satisfy most hunter needs without breaking the budget. An alternative, cheaper solution for those looking for a basic metal detector outside highly mineralized areas would be the ACE 400. Ultimately, the choice of the best metal detector is all yours. We’ve presented the industry’s leading entry-level devices so that you can select the one that best matches your needs. Hopefully, you have a clear picture of what will work best for you.