Like Indiana Jones trying to discover The Lost Ark, the best metal detector for beginners game can get pretty complex. Finding the right one for you depends on precisely what and where you are looking to hunt. It sometimes requires Indiana’s degree of patience, problem-solving aptitude and willingness to explore the environment.
And it involves searching for metals hidden under the ground, from coins and jewelry to relics – whether that be materials made from silver, nickel, iron, copper or even gold. (Please note that if you’re hunting for gold an entry-level detector will not sophisticated enough to have any luck. That requires detectors specialized for gold hunting such as the Fisher Gold Bug Pro.)
If you aren’t looking for gold an entry-level detector will get you in the game. You want to make sure that the detector you choose is comfortable to use, as you may be swiping across environments for hours at a time. Repetitive motions can cause injury over time, so generally lightweight is good for a beginner who is still learning the ropes.
Best Metal Detector For Beginners
Another caveat you need to consider is whether you intend to hunt in areas with high mineralization (also known as “hot ground”). These terms mean that there are high percentage levels of iron in the soil (this is the case in specific regions such as in the Pacific North West and Virginia). Highly mineralized ground may cause a false signal – essentially having a masking effect against the detection of valuable metal objects that are hidden just inches within the ground. Generally, entry-level detectors don’t do well with these environments.
Beginner detectives also struggle with being with saltwater. So if you are searching around beaches, on wet sand say, the salt may confuse the detector in a similar way to iron. These environments require mid-level metal detectors that have automatic ground balancing features – countervailing false feedback coming from minerals. Those models generally start from about $500. (Please also note that it’s usually a bad idea to take a beginner detector into wet areas. Although the coils are waterproof the control box isn’t – and if you lose grip in a moment you will destroy the detector.)
Toy detectors VS real detectors
Most detectors have roughly similar designs – they are made up of:
- a round coil at the base (which is what detects metal – using electromagnetic waves)
- the control box (this allows you to adjust settings)
- and the shaft (a long neck that connects the control box to the coil)
However, you may come across cheap versions that are sold in toy shops or your local Wal-Mart. Note, however, that a rough price marker for a true detector should be around $150 – detectors priced below this are toys rather than
professional instruments and cannot be used for serious metal hunting (they will have very unreliable weak signaling and you will end up simply wasting your time).
What you’ll need is an entry-level professional detector designed for beginners, but packing the punch to sniff out metal accurately and get you reliable results. In this article I’ll go through a selection of the best, most popular general-purpose beginner metal detectors so that you can begin your journey.
1. Sakobs Metal Detector
This metal detector is really easy to assemble and comes with a clear and detailed instruction book in English, French & German (save yourself valuable time by reading these first!) and also has a portable storage case and well-made shovel. If you need further easy instructions, there are a few good Youtube videos on this particular metal detector that you can watch. The Sakobs metal detector is run on alkaline batteries and these are non-rechargeable, but to be honest, I was surprised how well they lasted. You will need to buy two 9 volt batteries and it really does pay to buy a quality brand such as Duracell.
The most important part of the metal detector is its coil and this model has a good-sized search coil – 10 inches (25cm) in diameter – which means that it is nice and sensitive and will easily locate even the smallest coins on the periphery of its range. Importantly, the coil is waterproof so this makes the metal detector nice and versatile as you can use it along river banks, on the beach and in both fresh and saltwater – but will need to five the coil a good rinse afterward. It is really important to remember that the control box is not waterproof.
The Sakobs metal detector is certainly a really good choice for beginners but the big bonus is that it is equally good for professionals too, making it a really good buy.
- HIGH ACCURACY & WATERPROOF SEARCH COIL: The diameter of this metal detector’s search coil is 10 inches. As you know, the bigger the search coil is, the higher the sensitivity, let you detecting more efficient and time-saving. Waterproof search coil enables you to use detecting to underwater, perfect for outdoor, like beach, stream, backyard. (Note: the control box is not waterproof)
- THREE STRONG MODES & TRUE DISCRIMINATION MODE - SOKOBS metal detector has three operation models: ① All Metal Mode - the metal detector notifies you whenever it sees any metal. ② Disc Mode - you can utilize this metal detector to discriminate against other types of metal for a specific one. ③ Notch mode –press “NOTCH”, then press “+”or ”-” button to select the target to be notched(eliminated). And you can simply eliminate the metal you don’t want through Discrimination Mode & Notch mode.
- INTUITIVE LCD DISPLAY & DEEPER DETECTION - it is obviously more accurate and convenient that you can see the detection mode, sensitivity level, battery condition, and volume level. Even in the night time or dark light area. You can get information intuitively from the LCD screen and it can detect metals up to 8.7 inch depth.
- ADJUSTABLE & HUMANITY DESIGN – SAKOBS metal detector from 41.3 inch to 47.6 inch adjustable stem, suitable for both adults and kids. Save more effort with arm rest design, makes you more comfortable and less stressful. Let's start your treasure hunting with this lovely SAKOBS metal detector.
- FULL ACCESSORIES & YOU WORTH TO OWN IT: not only you can get 1×Metal Detector but also have 1×Carrying Bag, 1× Shovel(more durable & strong than other shovels), it has a headset jack that can be used with conventional headsets, two batteries are not included. Whatever you're a beginner or advanced metal detectorist, SAKOBS metal detector is always suitable for you. If you have any questions about SAKOBS metal detector or metal detecting technicality, please feel free to contact us.
2. Fisher F-22
This may be the best metal detector for beginners. The F22 is Fisher’s replacement of their previous model the F2, which was very popular for beginners. One of the coolest features of this detector is that it’s rainproof (although the control box cannot be submerged in water) – so the Fisher-22 is your best friend in dry or wet conditions.
Another cool feature is something called iron-audio (which happens to be an uncommon feature for entry-level metal detectors) – this is simply a secondary tone that sounds, separate to the regular metal detection tone. That lets you know on the fly if your target has iron composition, saving you precious time from constantly checking your LCD screen.
The control box gives you 4 detection modes (discrimination modes): jewelry, coins, artifacts and custom mode, with 4 separate tones to indicate target identification. Very importantly (to your shoulders) this is an especially light detector at only 2.3 ibs. The large 9-inch concentric coil lets you target large areas with each swipe. There are also 10 levels of sensitivity. Comes with a noticeably long 5-year warranty.
- Weatherproof all-purpose metal detector
- Visual target-id by category
- Operates on 2 aa batteries (25-30 hours)
- Fe-tone (adjustable iron audio)
3. Garrett ACE 300
The successor in the ACE line – the 300 is an upgrade to the ACE 250 with: extensions to its targeting ID database (now includes US coin denominations), a larger coil (10” – giving you superior coverage per swipe), better maneuverability, and improved audio functions. A cool added feature is that the frequency being searched for can be adjusted – you can eliminate particularly big interferences (such as from other detectors during group hunts). An overall higher frequency of 8 kHz means improved sensitivity to metal targets.
Features 5 search modes plus the pinpoint feature, which lets you narrow down on the exact area where your target is by only registering a sound when the base spot, a small specific part of the coil’ directly below the handle in some cases, is directly over the target (saving you from doing more damage/sifting/digging than necessary). Also has 8 sensitivity levels. Comes with a 2-year warranty.
4. Tesoro Compadre
Minimalist US-made design – instead of a digital LCD screen on the control box there’s has one super-simple central knob. It’s got a lot of good ratings and this may partly be down to its intuitive ease of use. The only setting you need to think about is the discrimination level. For example, when hunting a site with lots of rubbish just twist a single knob once to increase discrimination.
This detector excels at discovering coins and can do well with relics. In terms of weight it scores a 10/10 – it’s extremely lightweight. So if you want to go easy on your shoulders you’ve got your pick. It even comes with a lifetime warranty (including free repair free of charge if you have any issues with it 8-years after initial purchase).
- METAL DETECTING WITH TRUST: Our electric pinpointer, metal detecting device helps hobbyists, collectors, bounty hunters locate the exact position of target identified by regular metal detectors with highly-responsive sensory components without discriminating any metals. Powered by one 9-Volt battery, MYM Pinpointer Metal Detector saves you both time and cost while fulfilling either your hobby or your duty. Please note that battery is NOT INCLUDED in the package.
- METAL DETECTING WITH GREAT PRICE: Our pinpointer helps you do the job at a reasonable price. Compared to big brands as Garrett Pinpointer, our device delivers you full package of functions at lowest cost possible. Simplifying your job today by using our pinpointer!
- METAL DETECTING WITH VERSATILITY: MYM Pinpointer, handheld metal detector’s sensitivity is completely ADJUSTABLE to increase the likeliness of locating exact positions of target. Our metal detecting device’s sound system is also ADJUSTABLE, set the sound as your individual preference.
- METAL DETECTING WITH CONVENIENCE: Weighing at 5.1 ounces, MYM Pinpointer is super lightweight, convenient and mobile. Carry anywhere in your bag, backpack or tool box. This small, lightweight device employs precision tracking for speed recovery of location. It is ideal for recovery of small items in a wide variety of hunting conditions, ranging from highly mineralized ground to saltwater-saturated sand.
- METAL DETECTING WITH NO WORRY: We try to provide customers with best product at reasonable prices. Customer satisfaction is our utmost priority. If you are unhappy with our products, do contact us and we will give you an immediate replacement or a full refund. Try the product risk-free!
So that’s it – 3 super reliable and popular choices for entry-level metal detecting. If you want a weatherproof metal detector with lots of great features (including iron-audio), and great reviews, you really can’t go wrong with the Fisher-22. That would be my select pick for a beginner. But if you have other specific needs (such as even lighter weight, which the Compadre may win at) then perhaps one of the others may suit you better. Wishing you good returns on your hunting journey!