Searching for shiny metal objects or precious items is a popular hobby for many out there. Gold nuggets are a common item in this exciting scavenging endeavor and that’s why there are gold metal detectors available in the market, and lots of them at that.
So if you’re someone who wants to get your hands on a really good gold detector but can’t come to a proper decision, we’ve got everything covered for you here in this article.
The gold detectors that we have procured in this article have been specifically designed with several settings on how to look for gold, filter through the soil, and consist of smart metal identification algorithms.
Here are some of the finest gold detectors for beginners, intermediates, and experts:
What Is The Best Metal Detector For Gold?
If you’re someone who is new to the whole metal detecting business and are not that savvy with your scavenging abilities, then we suggest getting a beginner level product that offers the perfect combination of price and detecting ability.
Don’t expect these models to have some of the bells and whistles that the more sophisticated and advanced versions come with, but they’re good enough to get the job done when utilized in the right environment.
1. Garrett AT Pro
Are you looking for a gold detector that is an all-rounder, reliable device, and has a mid-priced range? The Garrett AT Pro is perfect for you!
The AT Pro works on 15kHz frequency and will get most of the metal targets. This is a single frequency detector and is good for beginners.
Moreover, the device has three modes. These modes allow you to take the detector and use it as you wish without customizing it every time you go for a hunt. You can start off with the basic mode and once you get enough practice on the device, you can use it in advanced mode that shows you the target’s depth and other information, such as discrimination.
The Garrett AT Pro is a waterproof device, so you won’t have to worry about tripping it in water. It can work well even after submerged into ten feet of salt or freshwater!
The various audio features on the device allows you to differentiate between targets. The Pro Mode has a proportional audio feature that gives off a sound whenever the device finds a target. You then have to understand what the sounds mean in terms of the target’s depth, conductivity, and shape.
The best thing about the Garrett AT Pro is its automatic and manual ground balancing. This feature of both manual and automatic ground balancing allows for more sensitivity and depth in your searches.
You can use this device to find gold well on all soils, sands, and freshwater. However, it won’t give you as such coverage on salt water.
Features of the Garrett AT Pro
- It weighs approximately 3 pounds.
- It has an adjustable length of 43 to 56 inches.
- The device comes with four AA batteries. Moreover, there is an indicator on the device to show when you are running low on power.
- It works on a single 15 kHz frequency.
- It has three modes of customization.
- The device is waterproof and can work after being submerged in 10 feet of water.
- It has advanced audio modes to find targets and show their depth, shape, and conductivity.
- It has manual and automatic ground balancing for more sensitive and advanced searches.
- It comes with a two-year warranty.
Pros of the Garrett AT Pro
- It has three modes of customization.
- It has advanced audio modes.
- The device is waterproof.
- It is perfect for hunting gold coins, nuggets, jewelry, etc.
- It works on a single 15 kHz frequency.
- It comes with automatic and manual ground balancing.
- The Garrett AT Pro comes with a two-year warranty.
- The device comes with four AA batteries.
Cons of the Garrett AT Pro
- The device may not work well in saltwater and wet soils.
- 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
No matter where you look, you’re never going to find a better beginner-level gold metal detector then the Fisher Gold Bug Pro. This brand has redefined gold prospecting by introducing new functions, great depths, and Target ID, all of which are available reasonable prices.
It is a VLF detector that has 19-kilohertz operating frequency. It includes a search coil that is 5” round, an LCD screen and a two-tone audio identification feature. All of these features combined make this gold detector capable of detecting even the tiniest speck of gold from a sea of other metals like a coin. And given that this product weighs only 2.5 lb, users can carry it around in various locations without being burdened by its weight.
Being priced at $549, the Gold Bug Pro is a relatively cheaper gold detector model. And in spite of that, it comes with a plethora of features that offer more bang for your buck when it comes to gold prospecting. Some of these features include automatic and manual ground balance, discrimination, and “all-metal” hunting modes, biaxial search coils, and a fast reaching speed that offers excellent target separation at incredible depths.
One of the best parts about using the Fisher Gold Bug Pro is its easy usability, which is no surprise since it is a product targeted for beginners. This way, you can get a feel of metal detector for gold or metal detectors in general before moving on to the more intricate models.
The system of the product smartly monitors the condition of soils, especially tracking black sandy areas where gold is usually found. And using the fe304 meter, you’ll know how much mineralization there is to deal with so you don’t lose your chance to find something precious.
The device also comes with three levels of sensitivity giving users indications via audio, vibration, and an LED light. Finally, the device also comes with a one-touch button operation that analyzes and tunes out several environmental factors that help users narrow down their target.
It measures in at 10.2 x 6.2 x 28.5 in and requires one 9-volt battery.
- Makes finding small gold nuggets easy
- Incredibly lightweight
- Intelligently filters through the soil when looking for a gold nugget
- Motion all-metal mode
- Discrimination mode for relics and coins
- 5-year warranty
- The coil is the only thing waterproof
- Finds the smallest gold nuggets in highly mineralized soils - v-break tm; industry's first variable breakpoing tone discrimination system - computerized ground grab tm
- Real-time computerized ground balancing - v.c.o. audio in all metal & discrimination mode - independent control over treshold & gain - continuous ground condition readouts
- Ground phase value indicates type of mineralization - fe3o4 graphic indicates amount of mineralization - static pinpoint with depth indicator - dual headphone jacks
- 19kHz Operating Frequency - Ultra Simple User Interface - Ultra-Lightweight (2.5 lbs)
- Recommended for gold nugget / prospecting
If you fancy gold hunting on both dry land and shallow freshwaters, the Garrett AT Gold is your ultimate go-to device. The budgeted, fully waterproof detector that was manufactured to search for native gold nuggets as well as non-ferrous metal items.
It can withstand a maximum depth of 10 feet in freshwater streams and lakes. This way, if you accidentally trip and lose the device, it should be able to make it through without being drenched.
Even though the product is aimed at beginners, it isn’t as user-friendly as the Fisher Gold Bug Pro that we’ve covered just before this. In fact, you’ll find that there are a good number of features and functions that will take some time to get used to. Some of these features include the high-resolution iron discrimination mode. The AT Pro offers about 40 iron resolution points that are excellent for sifting through trash to identify gold targets.
The AT Pro is also ideal for seeking for aurum slug prospecting as its frequency is set at 18 kilohertz. Despite that, this feature doesn’t really work well in salt water or on salt wet sand. And although it is waterproof, it is better utilized in freshwaters.
The 5×8 DD search coil is large enough to pick up on the weakest of gold signals without wasting any of your time. Thanks to its higher kilohertz range, you could even pick up those signals while it’s running on the All-Metal Mode. This gives the device enhanced sensitivity which is ideal when metal detecting for gold at the greatest depths.
The “Pro” audio mode is excellent for detecting targets by learning how to decipher noises without having to pay attention to the screen. This of course, can take some getting used to but it is quite rewarding in the end in so many ways.
Besides the All-Metal and Discrimination modes, there’s also a pinpoint mode that further aids users in seeking out there targets more effectively. The LCD screen displays several features on screen that even though maybe a bit much for rookies, are excellent for navigation.
- Weighs no more than 3 lb
- Comes with three search modes which is perfect for rookies.
- Offers superb ground balance
- Provides 10 ft of waterproofness
- Easily discriminates between metals
- A bit heavier than some of the other models on this list
- Not suitable for saltwater despite being waterproof
- This package includes a Garrett AT Gold Waterproof Metal Detector with 5x8 DD Search Coil, Mastersound Headphones, Garrett ProPointer AT Pinpointer and AA Batteries
- Highly Recommended - Prospecting, Coin, Jewelry, Cache Hunting, Relic Hunting, Organized Hunts and Shallow Fresh Water Hunting
- Target ID Cursor Segments 20 | Iron Discrimination Segments 44 | Search Modes 3 | Sensitivity/Depth Adjustments 8
- Electronic Pinpointing Yes | Frequency 18 kHz | Audio Tone ID Levels 3 | Standard Searchcoil 5" x 8" ( 14x20cm) DD PROformance
- Length (Adjustable) 42" to 51" (1.06m - 1.29m) | Total Weight 3.03 lbs. (1.4 kgs.) | Batteries 4 AA (included) | Warranty 2 Year, Limited Parts/Labor
4. Fisher Gold Bug
Priced at $448, the Fisher Gold Bug is the least expensive model in our list. It is also the best-budgeted detector that helps you search for gold as well as other precious metal and relic items. While it lacks some of the other advanced features of its bigger “Pro” sibling, it’s still great in its own right to get the job done.
The Fisher Gold Bug weighs in at 2.2 lb and made of carbon material, which although lightweight, is quite durable. Despite its size and weight, this product is able to detect the tiniest sliver of gold within highly mineralized soils. It’s also low maintenance in that users are able to avoid incurring unnecessary costs over the course of using this device.
It comes with a 5-inch search coil when purchased, but can also be upgraded to a bigger coil in order to search for larger areas and spend less time on fields. It has an operating frequency of 19 kilohertz and boasts a super sensitive two-tone discrimination mode to differentiate between various metals when going through soil.
The two modes that come with the Fisher Gold Bug are ‘standard’ and ‘discriminate’. The standard mode picks up anything that is metal while the second one is specifically meant for gold hunting to save on time and effort. The standard mode can be handy and getting rid of dangerous kinds of metals and the discrimination mode is quite useful for those looking for relics or treasures.
The Fisher Gold Bug possesses a unique ability unlike other metal detectors known as the no-motion pinpoint mode. Many metal detectors usually pick up metals that are on the move but the Gold Bug is able to pick up metals from fixed positions. This pinpoint indicator also allows users to search for metals using high-precision.
Another great thing about this product is that you can use headphones to prevent getting distracted from various noises in commercial or crowded areas. Put simply, you’ll have a better chance of finding gold as well as treasures as the device conceals the noise from surrounding areas.
Gold Bug runs on a single 9-volt battery that lasts for 25 hours, which is great for consistent searching. The battery is used efficiently so as to save on money. What this means is that you can spend more time searching for materials without having to worry much about the battery draining.
To further aid in a successful and effective hunt, you’ll find better results using two ground balance options: manual and automatic. Both are pretty quick and simple to use. The automatic option provides fast calibration values whereas the manual one can achieve specific device adjustment for certain ground properties. This is why professionals appreciate this type of ground balancing as it helps them locate gold nuggets through highly mineralized soils.
- Super sensitive
- Two amazing search modes
- No-motion pinpoint feature
- Large LCD display
- It isn’t waterproof
- It doesn’t feature multiple audio tone capabilities
- 5" And 10" Dd search coils
- Total weight - 2. 8lbs. (1. 13 kgs. )
- Frequency - 19 kHz
- 5 Year Limited
Gold Detectors For Intermediates
Intermediate or mid-range gold detectors are for those who desire better sensitivity but are unable to afford the higher-end models that we’ll talk about later on our list. These detectors are priced less than $1,000 but are able to handle mineralization of high levels and are highly sensitive to tiny gold flakes.
The third entry of the Fisher brand, because why not? It offers extremely high operating frequency at 71 kilohertz. This provides incredible sensitivity for tiny gold pieces that can be found close to the surface. It is also touted as being the best detector for locating small gold flakes.
Like its predecessor, or the original Fisher Gold Bug metal detector, the second version is also light and simple to use. It even comes with a reliable iron disk mode that rejects the detection of hot rocks and iron when looking for gold in high mineralized soils. There’s even an easy-to-use 3-position mineralization switch that allows you to adjust the settings to either low, normal, or difficult mineralized soil conditions.
It’s also surprisingly lightweight for a mid-range detector weighing in at approximately 3 lb. The GB 2 also runs on two 9 volt transistor batteries and features a 10-inch elliptical coil to enhance the searching capability of the device.
Like several other VLF detectors we’ve covered, the Gold Bug 2 isn’t adept at finding gold in deeper depths. That is the purpose of pulse induction detectors which you need to purchase especially for heavily mineralized areas. You need to learn how to use its audio identification feature since the GB2 doesn’t have a digital display.
In spite of these setbacks, the GB2 is hands down one of the finest VLF gold detectors that offers the best value for your money. It may lack some of the more advanced features of it’s more sophisticated rivals, but the Gold Bug 2 is still effective in locating small gold nuggets from great depths.
- Iron disk mode for hot rock and iron rejection
- 3 mineralization modes (low, normal, and high)
- Hip mountable
- Lightweight as it weighs only 2.9 pounds
- Boosts audio signals of deep and small targets
- 5-year warranty
- No digital display
- Quickly runs through batteries
- Powerful 71kHz Operation for extreme sensitivity to small gold nuggets
- “IRON DISC” mode rejects iron (trash) targets and hot rocks
- Resistant to dust and moisture
- Weighs only 2.9 lbs.
- Convertible to hipmount or chest mount
2. Garrett ATX
Are you looking for a metal detector that’ll help you search for gold, relics, and other valuables in multiple terrains? Then the Garrett ATX will be more than happy to help. This mid-range gold detector is capable of performing its prospecting duties on the same level as some of the more expensive models.
If you didn’t realize it from its appearance, the ATX is a sophisticated piece of military-grade equipment. With that in mind, it is capable of withstanding the harshest conditions which go with its rugged looks. The surface of the machine is excellent and matte, and the smooth coat makes it fairly simple to clean when it falls in mud or other dirty areas.
Despite being relatively heavier then some of the other models on this list, a key feature of the ATX’s design is its balance. The shaft was specially developed to have the users acclimated to the detector’s extra weight during their search. Furthermore, the ATX is also pretty portable and easy to manage.
The display of the ATX is nothing to boast about compared to the more advanced models. However, this only means that the detector has a relatively user-friendly learning curve to it. It’s easy to see and feel the buttons and even in broad daylight, the LED indicators are clearly visible. But if you were expecting a fancier LCD display, then you’re better off looking for another detector that gives you that.
Garrett ATX comes equipped with a 12in DD coil in a military-grade hard case. This simply means that the detector can be used to search for gold, relics, and other precious items in extreme conditions. The coil is submergible allowing you to search for gold in enormous amounts of water. In addition, the high sensitivity allows users to find even small gold nuggets underneath heavily mineralized soils.
There aren’t any search modes, but it does come with 25 discrimination settings. It even includes a motion and non-motion detection mode. The motion mode enables the device to send clear signals while the coil is on the move, which is when users walk around with the coil. The non-motion mode comes in handy considering the device is kind of heavy and that searching conditions can get rather complicated.
It also uses an advanced pulse induction technology that can reach about 19in of enormous debts when looking for a barber quarter, for instance. It even features a very handy pinpointing button that has been confirmed to be very accurate. All you have to do is just place the search coil over any particular area while pressing the button and then begin digging as soon as you find your target.
- Pulse induction technology
- State-of-the-art military-grade equipment
- Extra coils
- A bit heavy
- No LCD display
- A little too pricey for a mid-range detector
- Maximum Detection on all targets at the same time. No need to switch modes to enhance detection of one target while degrading another. Ground Track with 4 settings: Choose setting that best handles rapidly changing ground mineralization.
- LED Indicators: show signal strength and current settings. Waterproof Speaker: built in for option to search without headphones.
- Frequency Scan: auto function for minimizing RFI interference. Volume Control: adjust to limit the response of large signals in order to better hear deep/faint signals.
- Advanced Ground Balance: has wide range to ground balance from heavily mineralized ground (ironstone) to saltwater without switching to special modes. Exclusive Design DD Searchcoil: enhances detection of small items without having to slow down the scanning speed of the coil.
- Motion and Non-Motion Modes: provides optimum performance based on your hunting preference and conditions. Fully Collapsible: the ATX can be operated with its stem fully extended, fully collapsed, or anywhere in between. Quick Iron Check feature and adjustable Discrimination
The Very Best Metal Detectors For Gold
As indicated by the title, these detectors are mainly suited for highly experienced gold or treasure hunters. Their prices usually start out from $2,000 or more, and although expensive, they’re very efficient and effective in locating gold nuggets that the other cheaper models can’t detect.
If your pockets can stretch as wide as $8,000, the Minelab GPZ 7000 is the granddaddy of all gold detectors. The Zero Voltage Technology (ZVT) technology goes to a whole new level with this device for every serious gold prospector out there. In fact, this technology surpasses GPX detectors when it comes to locating deep large gold nuggets and as well as finding gold in virtually any depth possible.
The housing of this detector is based on an earlier model known as CTX 3030. The battery’s capacity is twice that of CTX 3030’s and is larger too. The GPX comes with an LCD menu system that is simple to get with PC mapping and GPS locating options. Users can control the metal detector using one set of options from the screen and the other can be used for the integrated GPS mapping and tracking system.
The super amazing sensitivity of the Super-D coil gives users the ultimate advantage when searching up gold nuggets buried in high mineralized soils of great depths. Much of the goal is usually buried underneath the most difficult mineralized grounds that most other detectors are unable to pick up on. The GPZ 7000 is easily capable of automatically tracking and accurately balancing itself to even the most extreme ground conditions.
The device is also completely waterproof with the GPZ 14 coil being waterproof to about 1 m. This will help users detect gold through shorelines and rivers without any fuss. It can also help locate gold during wet or rainy conditions.
Thanks to its astounding noise immunity, the GPZ 7000 can help you find your valuable gold nuggets while easily filtering out any noise from surrounding areas. And with over 256 Noise Cancel channels, there will hardly be any atmospheric noise being picked up. Put simply, you’ll only listen to the beeping of gold and nothing else.
The menu system is easy to operate and groups several functions together under Map and Detect, with every one of them quickly accessible. Guide Sequences can help you get started without even acquiring the aid of an expert.
There are two crucial detector functions that enhance the performance of this device: ground type and gold mode. The gold model has three options: high-yield, general, and extra deep. There are also three options for ground type including normal, difficult, and severe.
- It is completely waterproof and fully submersible in water
- The waterproof coil is submersible to 1 m
- The machine’s integrated trigger button and GPS module can help us efficiently and clearly locate our targets.
- Not necessarily anything bad to say about this product except for the fact that it’s quite expensive for beginners and intermediate
- Extreme Gold Depth: So how deep can you go? Well, up to 40%* deeper than the GPX series. Old gold fields are new again, thanks to the revolutionary new ZVT technology. Minelab takes you much deeper than ever before.
- Maximum Gold Sensitivity: The incredible sensitivity of the GPZ 7000 with the Super‑D coil gives you the ultimate advantage in the field. Find gold others have missed, from sub-gram gold through to those elusive ‘retirement nuggets’ still out there.
- Precision Ground Balance: Most gold is buried in the mineralised ‘difficult’ ground that many detectors can’t cope with. The GPZ 7000 accurately ‘balances’ and automatically ‘tracks’ to even the most severe ground conditions, with ease.
- Enhanced Noise Immunity: The outstanding noise immunity of the GPZ 7000 enables very smooth and quiet detecting. With 256 Noise Cancel channels, the GPZ 7000 picks up less atmospheric noise. Listen to the gold, not the noise interference.
- Simple Menu System: The easy-to-use Menu Pages group similar functions together under Detect and Map sections, with all settings quickly accessible. Use the Guide Sequences to get started. You don’t need to be an expert to find gold.
How To Choose A Gold Metal Detector
Before we start off with our list, it is important for you to be wary of specific requirements, functions, and features that go into choosing a gold metal detector for your prospecting adventure.
Here are some of the things that you need to consider before buying a gold metal detector:
- Deciding the type of area that you’re going to search for gold. This also depends on the type of terrains that you’re inspecting.
- Learning about the basics of metal detection. Look around the internet to get a general understanding of various models as well as their capabilities.
- Gain familiarity with the functions of a gold detector. Then you can work out the most important features for the kind of treasure hunting you’re going on.
- Join a club specifically for metal detectors around your area. It’s a great way to get you acquainted with metal detecting in general and also get to know the people who already have a solid grasp of treasure-hunting.
You should also familiarize yourself with some of the most important features when it comes to deciding a gold detector, including:
- Ground balance
- Operating frequency
- Target identification
- Search depth
Do gold detectors really work?
Yes, gold detectors work, and they are some of the most popular tools among treasure hunters and amateur prospectors. Gold detectors are, in fact, metal detectors that are specially calibrated to detect gold. It would help to explain here how a typical metal detector works in order to understand the working of a gold detector.
How A Metal Detector Works
Metal detectors transmit an electromagnetic field and analyze the signals they receive as a response. An electromagnetic field, when interacts with a metal, generates eddy currents in the metal. Now, these eddy currents generate their own electromagnetic fields, which are picked up by metal detectors.
A gold detector, on the other hand, takes a step further in the process and measures the conductivity and inductance. Inductivity calculates the amount of eddy currents generated, while conductivity refers to how easily current can flow through a substance. By calculating the amount of current, and the speed of its flow, gold detectors calculate what is known as the ‘time constant’ of a material.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. The time constants of different materials vary considerably. For instance, the time constant of aluminum is short as compared to gold coins that have a bigger time constant. Moreover, iron and steel have even larger time constants. Taking this into account, gold detectors are calibrated to detect time constants of substances in the ‘middle’ range.
There is a minor caveat in this: the shape, distance, and size of the target can affect the detector’s accuracy in calculating time constant. For example, the greater the distance of the metal or gold, the harder it is for the device to detect.
To compensate this, you can calibrate a gold detector on-the-fly in order to find a narrower or broader variety of time constants.
Can gold be detected by a metal detector?
Yes, gold can certainly be detected with a metal detector! Metal detectors are able to detect metals, even gold, in an underground location or even water, and can give you its exact location as well. Metal detectors use the principle of electromagnetism to locate metals or objects made out of metals, such as jewelry and gold.
Metal detectors are available in various kinds to serve various purposes. You see, the metal detectors used at airports, public buildings, courthouses, etc. that are sometimes hand-held or walk-through detectors. Then there are metal detectors that are mounted on vehicles used in excursions in huge capacities.
A typical metal detector consists of a control box, search oil, and shaft. It is based on the technology of Very Low Frequency (VLF). VLF models are perfect for beginners with a restricted budget. If you have just started on your gold-hunting journey and want to practice hunting, you may start with a VLF detector.
Metal detectors generate an electromagnetic field by supplying a current to their coil. When this electromagnetic field gets in contact with metal, particularly gold, it generates an electric current in the metal and results in another electromagnetic field. This electromagnetic field is detected by the receiver coil of the metal detector and is sent to a loudspeaker to set off an alarm. The closer you get to the target, the louder the alarm is.
When starting out, it is better to practice and hone in on your treasure hunting skills. You can practice in your backyard or a local park to start off your treasure hunting journey.
Moreover, you need to choose the right type of metal detector for you. You can do this by asking for referrals from people you know who are already in the field or look for reviews online. Furthermore, you need to have a good pair of headphones in order to tune out the noise from outside and to always hear when the alarm goes off. Sometimes, the alarm is so low that without proper headphones, you won’t be able to hear it.
In case you are looking for gold underground, keep a spade with you, and have gloves at your disposal. You can include the spade and gloves in your hunting kit.
If your search is for gold underwater, make sure that the detector you are using is designed to do so. You would have to check if your kit is waterproof and prepare accordingly. Moreover, some detectors are not suitable for salt waters and can only function well in freshwater. Keep an eye on for this in the instructions to protect your device from damage.
How much is a gold detector?
Like with any other product available in the market, the price of a gold detector depends on various factors, such as the retailer, the brand, the quality of the detector, the features of the detector, etc. In this regard, you can get detectors that are worth as low as $500 and as pricey as $7000 or more.
Generally, the more performance the detector has, the higher its price is. Here, we talk about a few factors that determine the price of a detector.
The search technology
The detection or search technology of a detector is one of the factors that determine its price. Particular detection technologies require greater costs, and therefore, these detectors are higher in price than their low detection technology counterparts.
The device features
The better the features are of a gold detector, the higher its price is.
These are a few of the features that may determine the price of a detector:
Of course, the quality of a detector determines its final price. Good quality detectors give you the best features and are priced the same.
The depth indicates how much the detector can reach—underground or underwater—to find gold or metals in general. The greater the depth a detector allows, the greater its price is.
Gold detectors have a feature of ‘discrimination’ or metal identification, in which the detector identifies if the target detected is gold or some other metal. This is often done by a certain tone made in the detector or an ID number shown on the detector’s screen.