Looking for buried treasure underwater adds a whole other type of experience to metal detecting itself, whether you’re hunting around the beach, the local river, or even the ocean.
There is a certain lore and excitement that comes with looking for rare or valuable items that those without access to the right equipment can’t enjoy. Diving beneath the water with an underwater metal detector is another thing that enthusiastic detectorists should try out at least once.
However, doing so requires using the proper detectors that are submersible and waterproof. What’s more, is that waterproof metal detectors aren’t exactly easy to buy and are complex pieces of equipment. That’s why it’s imperative you avoid buying a faulty machine as it could cost you quite the loss.
The Best Underwater Metal Detectors
1. Garrett AT Max
We wouldn’t dare make a list of some of the best metal detectors without mentioning Garrett even once. This company has built a solid reputation by developing a series of some of the most highly acclaimed metal detectors the world has ever seen, including the AT Pro and the AT Gold. The Garrett AT Max blends the best features of the two aforementioned Garrett to deliver a device that offers both land and underwater searching capabilities.
Some of the finest features of the AT Max include irony audio, z-lynk wireless audio, and digital target ID among a slew of others.
Z-Lynk Wireless Technology
By far the best feature of the AT Max is the z-lynk technology. With it, users will be able to hear their target signals when the search coil is right above the target without a single delay. The reason why there aren’t any audio lags or delays is that z-lynk is about 6 times faster than Bluetooth. This is especially a crucial feature to have as even the slightest delay would cause hunters to move ahead in their search, making it all the more troublesome in pinpointing where their potential targets are.
13.6kHz Operating Frequency
The Garrett AT Max has an operating frequency of 13.6 kHz. Combined with high-quality circuitry and components, you will get an overall enjoyable experience detecting a vast line of targets, such as jewelry, coins, and brass relics.
It is also sensitive enough to pick up tiny gold nuggets that detectors of lower frequency aren’t able to pick up on. Interestingly, despite the frequency being different than either the AT Gold or the AT Pro, any of the AT coils will be compatible with the Max.
True All-Metal Mode
The true all-metal mode offers maximum depth and sensitivity. This is extremely important for deep search detecting that was lacking with the AT Pro, and is one of the biggest advantages of Max. The internal electronics of the Max provide enhanced depth penetration.
One of the biggest observations of the AT Max is that it isn’t a multi-frequency detector. Even though the frequency can be slightly adjusted to disregard any interference from power lines and other detectors, it can’t be changed considerably. It’s a bit of a bother but that’s expected from a VLF detector.
Adjustable Ground Balance
The AT Max offers both manual and automatic ground balance, enabling hunters to look for items in heavily mineralized conditions as well as saltwater beaches. The ground balancing can also be altered in quarter-point increments.
Digital Target ID
When you close in on your target, it will be identified on the LCD panel. Like several other detectors from Garrett, the readings range from 0 to 99 while offering a visual representation of the target’s composition. It’s standard for many mid-range detectors. However, the AT Max displays the target’s ID very quickly and accurately, provided the right ground balance has been set for the environment.
- Enhanced Z-Lynk Pinpointer: Pro-Pointer All Terrain Z-Lynk Pinpointer integrates with the included MS-3 Headphones to hear sounds directly through your headphones
- Wireless Z-Lynk MS-3 Headphones Included, Enhanced Detection Depth, True All-Metal Mode
- LED Backlit Screen, Frequency 13.6 kHz, adjustable Ground Balance, Auto/Manual: High Resolution 175 pts Auto Ground Balance, Iron Audio, Iron Discrimination Segments: 44
- Threshold Adjustment, Electronic Pinpointing, Waterproof to 10 feet (3m), Freshwater / Saltwater Search Modes, Digital Target ID, Audio Tone ID
- Notch Discrimination, 8 Sensitivity Adjustments, Fast Recovery Speed, Target Depth ID, 8.5x 11" DD PROformance Coil
2. Garrett AT Pro
What do you get when you have metal detectors that are completely submersible underwater, includes state-of-the-art intrinsic functions, can be used on either the land or the sea, all while coming to users at an affordable price? You get the Garrett AT Pro, in what could be argued as the best underwater metal detector anywhere.
Complete Waterproof Design
The AT Pro is absolutely waterproof and completely submersible to 10 ft of water depth, making this detector ideal for hunting around lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, as well as the ocean.
Even though many detectors come with a waterproof coil, it’s actually surprising to find one like the AT Pro that’s entirely submersible as it was designed especially for hunting underwater. Despite this, the Pro isn’t exactly suited for diving. There are separate detectors with a much higher depth rating designed specifically for scuba diving or hunting shipwrecks, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Pro Mode Audio
When in standard audio mode, the AT Pro offers an audio response of full strength. What this means is that the beep of the detector that turns on after picking up a target will always be consistently steady no matter what the target is or what the depth maybe.
This mode will enable you to hear more from your target, as well as offering information about the kind of item you’ve located. For instance, the audio will get weaker if you move away from a target, and vice versa if you get closer to the target.
15 kHz Operating Frequency
The Garrett AT Pro comes with a 15 kHz operating frequency, which is quite higher than most VLF detectors, although lower than the AT Gold which measures in at 18 kHz. This gives it an advantage over the lower frequency metal detectors on the market.
A larger frequency offers a number of advantages. Firstly, this detector is excellent at picking up tiny tiny targets and offers very good target separation. This frequency also makes the detector more qualified for detecting gold nuggets than some of the other VLF models – this is mainly due to the device’s brilliant ground balance feature.
High-Res Iron Discrimination
The AT Pro also features high-resolution iron discrimination levels between 1 to 40. With the right discrimination level setting, you’ll be able to filter out unnecessary items such as rusty nails.
To set the right discrimination level, all you have to do is go to the iron discrimination menu and press the ‘+’ or ‘-’ button. However, it’s important to be aware that you mustn’t keep the settings too high or you’ll miss out on crucial items or metals that you’ve been looking for all along.
Another way to filter your search so you don’t end up detecting unwanted items is to hover the search coil over your potential target and then press the eliminate button. It’s a little risky since you’ll probably miss out on other good targets, but if you’re persistent and are very straightforward in your approach, then go ahead with this method.
Similar to pro mode audio, the iron audio feature is something that was lacking in entry-level or beginner Garrett detectors. When activated, you can hear discriminated iron in a manner where you are certain there’s iron beneath the ground. When very low and grunting tones start emitting from your device, you’ll know that you’re picking up iron (ferrous) content and it is probably trash (unless the items are relics). Hunters of any kind will really find this feature useful, but mostly coin collectors.
Digital Target ID
Digital target ID otherwise known as target identification (TID) feature displays a target’s potential identity and ranges from 1 to 99. For instance, if or when you have found an iron object, the TID number will be really high, and the cursor will be on the scale’s absolute right.
- WATERPROOF TO 10 FEET OR 3 METERS Ideal for use in both fresh and saltwater AT Pro will ground balance to saltwater.
- Includes NEW Garrett MS-2 Headphones
- Includes Batteries Installed.
- As seen on the TV Show Diggers
- Includes Garrett 2 Year Warranty
3. Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II
When it comes to underwater detectors, the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II brilliantly stands out thanks to its state-of-the-art Discrete Trash Elimination mode and we’ll let you know about this in a moment.
Earlier we mentioned that there were other detectors specifically for underwater deep-sea diving, scuba diving, and whatnot. Well, the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II not only ticks off those boxes but is also fit for beach hunting as well. It’s also completely waterproof, durable and its cutting edge design makes it suitable for saltwater and freshwater treasure hunting. So it doesn’t matter if you’re at the beach, the lake or the ocean, nothing will stop you from looking for some precious loot.
Discrete Trash Elimination Mode
Garrett has broken grounds again with the Discrete Trash Elimination mode that comes with the Sea Hunter Mark II. The reason why this mode stands out is that it intelligently gets rid of pull tabs while still picking up signals from smaller items with smaller frequencies, like gold rings. Getting past trash while focusing on valuable gets is the ultimate goal for any eager metal detectorist.
Pulse Induction Technology
Pulse induction technology is considered to be one of the finest metal detecting technologies because of its deep soil penetration and is able to detect the tiniest of targets in extremely mineralized locations. The concerning part, however, is that because of its high sensitivity, it can be difficult to acquire metal differentiation and can be vulnerable to varying types of signal interference.
Nevertheless, the benefits of this technology far outweigh the small disadvantages, especially when you’re looking around for gold or other valuable targets in high salty areas underwater.
Ideal for Snorkeling or Diving
Thanks in part to its enhanced discrimination mode as well as its completely submersible capability (where the device can go about 200 feet underwater), which thereby allows it to exclude trash from detection, the Garrett Sea Hunter 2 is an excellent tool to look for buried treasure and other items underwater without virtually missing a cool collectible or some extra cash.
The Sea Hunter Mark II is set to 7.2 kHz, which is equal to 750 pulses per second by default, but it’s state-of-the-art pulse induction tech allows it to alternate between 22 frequencies, making it more than capable for treasure hunting in saltwater conditions where there is a vast range of metal targets.
The audio on this device is one tone with a threshold between 0 to 10 that can be controlled by the detector’s second dial. But even though it is one tone, several reviewers claim that users can distinguish between soft and loud harsh tones – soft tones are for valuable targets while the loud ones are just junk items. The fascinating part is that it’s adjustable to the user’s liking.
The standard packaging features submersible headphones, but we advise you to double-check if they’re literally waterproof as some customers have complained that they were given regular headphones instead. It’s presumably a mass packing error, that’s why it’s wise to inspect before purchasing.
4. Fisher 1280-X Aquanaut
Now let’s look at a product from a different brand by the name of Fisher. This company is one of the oldest and most reliable names in metal detecting and the 1280-X is a solid testament to that recognition.
The 1280x was actually developed back in 1985 and it is still in use as of today. This speaks volumes about the machine and the obvious reputation that it has garnered during that time as well.
The 1280 X is not only completely submersible but also offers deep seeking capabilities in both water and land. It features target strength LED, VLF-IB discrimination and it consists of a quartz crystal circuitry with a battery life of 75 hours.
The Fisher 1280x Aquanaut is a completely submersible detector with a water depth rating of 250 ft.
All Set And Ready For Action
Interestingly, the Fisher 1280x Aquanaut is a ready-to-go device that requires no ground adjustments, no fine-tuning, and no threshold tone. All you have to do is simply switch the detector on, configure the sensitivity, trash discrimination functions, and the volume and you’re ready to go hunting.
After that, the detector will do all the fine-tuning on its own as well as adjust its ground condition and saltwater settings, reject every tiny piece of unnecessary trash out of the way and automatically target valuable finds. This device also comes with the brand’s own proprietary waterproof piezoelectric headphones.
The 1280x Aquanaut’s design is robust featuring quality injection-molded enclosures for every one of its electronic components. To put it bluntly, this model was specifically built to be one of the most durable enclosures and comes with a collapsible pole assembly. Unlike plenty of other underwater detectors, the Aquanaut is a very low VLF machine.
2 Search Modes
The 1280x Aquanaut features search modes including slow motion and VLF-IB. The VLF-IB mode features a 2.4 kHz operating frequency and is controlled by a quartz crystal. Given that this device is a motion detector, users will need to keep the device in motion in order to pick up a target. But for precise pinpointing, the coil will need to be absolutely still.
It does take some time to get the hang of pinpointing with the Fisher 1280x Aquanaut, but the results will be well worth it once you do. As soon as you’ve located your target, ensure the search coil is moving side to side within the target location to make the search pattern narrower. Once you’ve done that, quit moving the search coil. Then slowly move the coil forward and straight back before moving it from right to left, where you will hear the sound at its loudest. Doing this means that your target has to be below the search coil.
Very Easy To Use
One more thing that makes the 1280x Aquanaut a highly sought-after and accessible waterproof metal detector is its convenience. The device comes with a hip mount that helps reduce its weight on either land or deep waters. Users can easily detach the control box and move it to a belt clip, which reduces half of the equipment’s weight from the handle. It also aids in lowering arm fatigue when out detecting, giving users more time to just search for even more items.
If you’re not in favor of attaching the control box to the hip, then a chest harness is another option to consider. However, Fisher suggests not having the control box mounted to the hip while underwater as users run the risk of the cable that goes from the box to the search coil, getting tangled onto something. Instead, to guarantee better safety, the brand recommends mounting the control box on the pole assembly.
Fisher suggests detectorists/divers maintain a 2 ft distance of the search coil from their bodies to prevent causing interference with the device. False signals can also be caused by moving not only salt water and sand, but also trashy areas, high mineralized ground, irregular or large shaped trash, quickly raising the coil or bumping the search coil. When using the detector on land, it would be wise to keep the digging tools behind you or right above the waist to prevent them from interfering with the device as it is quite sensitive whenever the coil is swept under the digging tool.
5. Minelab Excalibur II
Minelab is another metal detecting giant in the business and Excalibur II is the perfect personification of that static. This is because Excalibur 2 is ideal for:
- Jewelry hunting
- Relic and coin hunting
- Underwater metal detecting and scuba diving
- Beach hunting
This device utilizes Minelab’s multifrequency BBS technology, encased in a robust platform, making the Excalibur 2 one of the best deep diving underwater detectors around.
BBS (Broad Band Spectrum) Is one of the Minelab’s patented technologies that simultaneously transmits, receives, and then analyzes a wide range of various frequencies to deliver considerable detection depth, accurate discrimination, and high sensitivity for an incredible range of target types.
Because of all this, users are able to get more information about their potential target and the surrounding environment than they could have using single-frequency technologies. The detector processes all of these frequencies, offering increased depth and improved accuracy in target identification.
What’s more, this smart technology is capable of reducing noises and boosting signals objects that are small and in deep locations.
Fully Submersible and Waterproof
The device stands out for being a completely waterproof, and submersible device, operating at water depths of 196 feet.
Smart Discrimination Functions
Minelab Excalibur 2 features smart discrimination functions and options that allow the device to be able to sort out items made from ferrous metals along with metallic trash. Besides that, the smart ground balancing also enables the device to prevent signal distortion caused by highly mineralized soils, as well as filter out fake signals from salty water. All in all, this allows users to operate the best in salty and freshwaters alike.
Other Notable Features
- Minelab Excalibur 2 comes with a NiMH rechargeable battery pack that offers a 12-hour battery life and a perfect operation. Interestingly, the device is said to operate just as well even with low battery life remaining.
- The fluorescent design makes the bodywork on the skid plate and the shaft of the device highly visible. This enables the user to never lose sight of their device even if it’s in murky waters.
- The side mount shaft is convenient for shallow and surf wading.
- Special Bundle with Free Minelab Headphones, Car Charger & Extra Rechargable Batteries
- RCB amplifies weak target signals inside the coil, reducing noise and boosting faint, deep objects
- High Visibility (Hi-Vis) fluorescent bodywork;
- NiMH Rechargeable battery pack for operation up to 12 hours Hi-Vis Skid plate;
- Side-mount shaft for shallow and surf-wading (available as an optional accessory) BBS multiple frequency technology (1.5kHz - 25.5kHz)
6. Wedigout Metal Detector
And for our final entry, the Wedigout underwater Metal Detector. This detector is completely waterproof of up to 100 feet depth and is excellent for scuba diving, snorkeling, or treasure hunting. It works well on land, as well as any other type of soil, such as black sand.
Some of its most desirable features include:
Pulse induction detectors are largely known for having their detecting range uninterrupted from the medium between the detector and the potential target. The best part about this is that the performance will remain unchanged whether you’re detecting through saltwater, solid coral or even sand.
Despite the detector being smaller compared to its full-sized counterparts, Wedigout offers high sensitivity settings, allowing it to pick up small objects with ease. What’s more, the metal detector can even detect any metal without any discrimination.
Communicate Via Light And Vibration
When you find your target, the detector will start vibrating and start showing bright white light flashes. The light flashing and vibration pulses will increase in quantity the more the coil closes in on the target.
Quick Battery Installation
The detector uses standard 9-volt batteries and can easily be replaced without the use of any tools. To change the batteries, all you need to do is simply rotate the back knob, pull the compression seal out and pull the batteries out from the compartment.
The epoxy resin protects the detection coil against corrosion liquid. It’s hard as a rock and is crystal clear.
Like the Fisher 1280x Aquanaut, this detector will be able to fine-tune the settings automatically to get the best results on the fly so you won’t have to.
This trap is made from a durable but soft material that easily slides onto your wrist and provides a secure way of carrying your waterproof metal detector.
This detector is all about convenience and compact, enabling you to carry it wherever you like, be it a small backpack or a suitcase for travel.
- The in build microprocessor provides a consistent depth detection, guaranteeing accurate target identification throughout its battery life
- Multiple applications: allows you to look for coins, keys, metal, relics, and jewelry on either the beach, on the mountains, or underwater.
- Really easy to use: a simple on and off function is all you need to know about operating this magnificent detector. When activated, the device will fine-tune your settings to give you the best detection results possible.
- Powerful sealed construction: the stainless steel hardware and the rugged, seal construction is built to last.
- ✔FULLY WATERPROOF PIN POINTER- With Pulse Induction Technology(PI),Allow hunting metal in water, on land or in any type of soil, including black sand.
- ✔HIGH SENSITIVITY AND DETECTION DEPTH STABILITY- Automatic tuning ,The state of the art microprocessor controlled design requires no adjustments of any kind.
- ✔SEALED CONSTRUCTION AND UPGRADED DESIGN- The pin pointer rugged sealed construction and stainless steel hardware are built to last.Built in low battery sensor ,safty ,sensitive,quickly,effeciency.
- ✔EASY TO USE AND INSTALL- Auto on and off ,just with a simple gesture- turn over the Pin pointer;With led light, you can easily distinguish detecing sigal.Convenient to carry with belt ring & wrist strap.★★Please fully tighten the back cover when you use it underwater 🙂
- ✔MULTI APPLICATIONS- Search for Metals,Keys, Coins,Jewelry,Relics,Needle/pin and much more, on Beach ,Mountain,Diving searching, Archaeology, Public security check, Police detecting, Pinpointing decoration line, Waste Iron Recovery...
Types of Waterproof Metal Detector to Buy
When going for underwater metal detecting, there are two types of detectors that you’ll need for the job; pulse induction and very low frequency (VLF).
Pulse Induction Metal Detector
These metal detectors emit a set of fast electronic pulses into the ground. These pulses won’t be affected by ground minerals and wet salt sand but are quite sensitive towards precious metals. This detector is best suited for saltwater diving and beaches.
One component within this device is the pulse circuit known for its deep-seeking abilities, especially when searching through tough conditions of ground minerals. However, the circuit’s discrimination abilities are limited, so users are typically required to filter out trash items with their own hands to increase their chances of finding as many precious items as possible.
Very Low Frequency (VLF) Metal Detector
VLF detectors normally operate in frequencies ranging between 3 to 30 kHz and are very sensitive to relics, jewelry, and coins. They are capable of discriminating or filtering out junk items while still being able to look for valuable ones.
The only downside of this device is that unlike the pulse induction circuit, ground mineralization can affect the VLF circuit. Fortunately, many VLF detectors give users the ability to adjust the device’s sensitivity and at times ground balance. Through these controls, users can reduce signals generated from ground minerals.
But whichever type of underwater detector you decide to opt for in the end, you must ensure that they come with the right tools, accessories, and other features that will help to make underwater detecting more convenient.
Crucial Features of an Underwater Detectors
The right underwater detector can help you easily adjust the settings according to your desired preferences, including how deep you plan on searching and the kind of targets that you are looking for. To get a good feel of your detector, it would be wise to test it out on land first.
One of the most important accessories that you need during your underwater treasure hunting adventures is a good pair of waterproof headphones. Detectors are known for picking up a wide range of clutter, which can be countered by headphones, and allow you to focus solely on your targets. Besides that, you’ll need a carry bag for obviously carrying your metal detector, a trowel as well as a sand scoop. With a sand scoop in your possession, you’ll be able to save plenty of time.
Searching the Right Areas
When detectorists decide which places they want to hunt, they would usually consider those that have the most amount of traffic. The more people there are in a certain place, the better the chances will be when it comes to finding valuable items. Furthermore, hunters need to plan the most convenient time for their search. It wouldn’t normally be a good idea to look for precious finds while also sifting through garbage in the dark or at night, especially not without night vision goggles or a flashlight.
Where To Buy A Good Underwater Detector?
Many metal detector retailers also stock up on underwater models – at least some of them are ideal for hunting in shallow waters. We recommend searching a specialist store for diving detectors, like the Tesoro Sand Shark.
And since underwater detectors tend to be expensive, it would be wise to dig around for special promotions or discounts. Most online stores like Walmart or Amazon offer great deals and prices.
However, if you’re thinking about buying a second-hand or a used metal detector, then you should look on Craigslist and eBay. However, we suggest you inquire about the detector’s condition and how many times it was used.
Underwater metal detectors are growing day by day because of how flexible and versatile they are becoming. This means that although they’re designed to be waterproof, some of the models coming out these days can also be used on land or any other type of soil. The latest models are built within rugged enclosures, allowing them to withstand water pressures to enhance the underwater treasure hunting or scuba diving experience.