How to choose the right metal detector. Simple tips for a beginner

How to choose the right metal detector. Simple tips for a beginner

To choose the most suitable metal detector, you need to decide how the equipment will be used. The simplest models are suitable for detecting objects at a short distance without interference. Expensive equipment boasts a wide range of functions, therefore it can be called universal.

How does a metal detector work?

Without going into the physical details of the process, we will briefly consider how a search metal detector works. Understanding the principles of operation will help to successfully carry out the work and quickly change the setting of the device, based on the situation.

The metal detector of your choice operates on the radar principle, with the difference that radars detect moving targets and metal detectors stationary ones.

How a metal detector works

How a metal detector works

The operation of a metal detector is as follows:

• The generator generates electromagnetic radiation that propagates to the external environment.
• Getting into the zone of influence, metal objects begin to form their electromagnetic radiation.
• The signal is reflected from an object with a different frequency / phase from the original signal and is received by the antenna of the device.
• The electronic component allows you to amplify the received waves and eliminate false signals.
• The processed data is displayed to the user in the form of sound signals or images.

Metal detectors can be conditionally divided into several groups: ground (simple, semi-professional and professional), gold prospectors, underwater, deep, hand-held and pinpointers.

Three types of metal detectors you can choose

Among the modern variety of equipment that is available and is used when searching for relics, the following types of metal detectors can be distinguished:

For the entry level. Relatively inexpensive devices, most suitable for finding small items. Their cost is small, their functionality is limited. If you want to use the device regularly, then it is better not to spend money or time on such models and choose a different type of metal detector.

For the intermediate level. They have good characteristics. With their help, you can find both a small lost thing and one that is in the ground.

Professional. They have serious functionality regardless of the type of work and type of soil. Technical characteristics allow working in different modes. Used by professional search engines. This type of device can be chosen by those who have already used the first and second types of metal detectors for some time.

The types of metal detectors you can choose from

Simple ground metal detectors

Devices of this type are considered one of the cheapest and least functional. Their purpose is to detect metal objects at a short distance. Rarely is the equipment capable of detecting the type of material or its depth. The number of frequencies does not exceed two. Work efficiency depends on the type of soil and the size of the object. Finding anything deeper than 70 centimeters will not work.

Among the advantages of this technique are the minimal cost, a huge range of models and low weight. Almost everyone can buy a simple metal detector, although the scope of its application is very narrow. The disadvantages boil down to low power, limited functionality, depending on many factors. Devices are very susceptible to noise and interference, which means they can malfunction. If you are a beginner, then we advise you to choose this particular type of metal detector.

Cheap metal detector for beginners

Cheap metal detector for beginners

Semi-professional metal detectors

The equipment can be selected by people who know how to handle metal detectors. The cost of equipment is an order of magnitude higher than the price of simple devices. A distinctive feature of the functioning can be called the simultaneous use of a large number of operating frequencies. Due to this, the radiation is obtained more informative.

An object detection signal is generated not only by sound, but also displayed. The graphical interface provides information on material discrimination, ie “black” or “non-ferrous” metal is found. The equipment is powerful enough to search for objects at a depth of 1-1.5 meters.

The functionality and efficiency of this equipment is better than that of simple ground metal detectors. The ability to define the type of material is also useful. Among the shortcomings, one can single out the increased cost of equipment and the difficulty in mastering it. Not every beginner will be able to figure out how to use it.

semi-professional metal detector

Semi-professional metal detector

Professional ground metal detectors

Multifunctional and expensive metal detectors designed for true professionals in the search for iron objects. The hardware has a microprocessor and an incredible variety of automatic and manual settings. Several modes of operation will help to adapt to soil and environmental conditions. The search is performed with multiband discrimination at once in a wide range of frequencies. The equipment has the ability to find “non-ferrous” metal that lies next to the “ferrous” one. Signals are sent simultaneously in audio, graphic and digital formats. The screen displays data on the depth of the object, its type, estimated dimensions.

The power is enough to detect metal at a distance of two meters or more.

The advantages of such metal detectors are incredible. They are considered the most reliable and practical. The disadvantages of the technique are the difficulty in mastering, the high cost, the significant weight of some models. Such devices are suitable only for qualified personnel.

professional metal detector

Professional metal detector

Gold prospectors

In fact, this is an analogue of professional metal detectors, which are debugged to find even the minimum gold content in the soil. The technique is tuned to frequencies that are ideal for detecting expensive metal. The depth of objects can be up to two meters. If desired, the equipment can be retrained to search for other types of material.

Of the advantages of these devices, it is worth noting the high efficiency of searching specifically for gold. It will be quite difficult to customize professional equipment for such a task. Gold miners have a decent amount of disadvantages. The equipment is expensive, and the possibilities of its use are very limited. Foil and aluminum create serious hindrances when searching, which are reflected on the display of the device in the same way as gold. It is almost impossible to find a grain of metal even at shallow depths.

Metal detector for finding gold

Metal detector for finding gold

Underwater metal detectors

Such metal detectors are not much different visually from professional ones. The difference is that they are designed to search in aquatic environments. Accordingly, the equipment is adjusted to ignore the interference that the fluid creates. The body of the device is sealed, which means that it can be submerged under water. The technique is necessary to detect objects at the bottom of reservoirs. Signals are given by sound only. The search depth depends on the environment.

Highly specialized metal detectors that are expensive and provide excellent search performance underwater. No special skills are required for the correct operation of the equipment. The disadvantages of the devices are high cost, limited functionality and dependence on environmental conditions.

Depth metal detectors

These metal detectors are often used for industrial purposes. From the very name it is clear that they make it possible to detect objects at a considerable depth, which in some cases can exceed six meters. It all depends on the size of the object. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to discriminate, therefore, in order to understand what kind of metal was found, you have to dig it out.

The devices are actively used in laying engineering communications, as well as at excavation sites in the battle areas of the Second World War.

A clear advantage of the technique is the ability to find objects at a considerable depth. There is enough power to accurately determine the distance to the object, its dimensions, in which direction it lies. The high cost, the inability to determine the type of material and the inability to find objects located at a distance of 5-10 centimeters from the ground surface are considered disadvantages of such devices.

Depth metal detector

Depth metal detector

Hand-held metal detectors

Such detectors are found in the hands of representatives of the law, security guards, and the military. The devices are small in size and have a wide range of supported frequencies. Accordingly, they can even detect needles on the human body. One of the most common and affordable metal detectors.

Compactness, relatively low cost and the ability to detect even tiny objects are the advantages of such devices. Disadvantages are represented by limited functionality and dependence of the device on external interference. In addition, if the device is configured to detect small objects, then the background from large objects will be ignored.

Useful tips how to choose a metal detector

Coil type: there are monopool and DoubleD coils, in budget versions they are used – monoloop coils.

Mono coils and DoubleD coils

Monoloop coils and DoubleD coils

Mono coils and DoubleD coils

Important: For trashy areas, a metal detector with a Monopool coil is better.

Coil size: the depth of detection is directly related to the diameter of the coil, the larger the coil, the deeper it has in standard configurations, coils with a diameter from 8 to 12 inches are used.

Detection depth of the metal detector

Detection depth of the metal detector

Discrimination – The main function of a metal detector, which is responsible for identifying an object. As a discriminator, they provide a better separation of various metals and show the VDI of the desired object more informatively.

What else to consider when trying to choose a metal detector

Discriminator. Looking for relics often in trashy areas? Here you can find foil from cigarettes, and wire, and boards with nails, and aluminum cans … A metal detector that reacts to all metals will not allow an aimed search. What to do? Take a closer look at devices with a discriminator. Such a detector can be configured to search for silver, gold, copper, etc. This is possible because all materials differ in conductivity. But when searching for pipes and cables, the discrimination function is not needed, so you can save on it.

Pinpoint. An ultra-useful feature that allows you to “pinpoint” an object and determine its location with centimeter precision. This is important if you are working with fragile objects and do not want to damage them with a shovel from the ground or wall. IMPORTANT: an analog metal detector already has a fast and accurate response. It does not need a pinpoint mode. But a digital detector cannot do without a pinpoint.

Tightness. The higher the degree of moisture isolation of the device, the wider the scope of its application. It is good if the instrument search is your hobby and you can go hunting only on sunny and warm days. And what about the dew or rain? What if the search needs to be done on the beach or underwater? In this case, the metal detector must have a sealed housing. It is splash resistant and withstands shallow diving.

Weight. Instrumental search is a long and exhausting task, which means that the weight of a metal detector is also important. The operator is unlikely to be able to work 12-14 hours if his hand falls off from fatigue. To facilitate the metal detector, manufacturers use aluminum rods and plastic armrests.

How a metal detector works

Working frequency and number of working frequencies:

Metal detectors can operate at the 1st operating frequency, at several operating frequencies at once, or the detector has the ability to switch the frequency of the device.

The operating frequency of the device is related to what you plan to look for. The lower the frequency, the less the influence of the ground and, accordingly, the greater the depth of detection. But at the same time, the lower the frequency, the worse the device detects small objects.

The middle frequency (6-8 kHz) is the most versatile for searching for various objects: coins, archeology searches, or searching for items from the war period.

Low frequency (3-5 kHz) is well suited for searching for sufficiently large metal parts at medium and deep depths, but at the same time, the device may not detect small targets of a coin at such a frequency. To search for treasures or search for “war”.

High frequencies (14-20 kHz) provide high sensitivity and are well suited for finding small metal objects at shallow depths. To search for small coins of scales.

Super high frequencies of 20 kHz and above are intended for searching for super small details, in particular for searching for small nuggets.

Metal detector operation at one, two and mono frequencies

Metal detector operation at one, two and mono frequencies

Ground balance is a necessary function that allows you to determine the degree of soil contamination, its structure, and then adjust the device so that the interference created by foreign particles does not affect the search result.


Small metal detectors capable of detecting objects at a distance of no more than 5 centimeters. Most often they are used to search for wiring in walls or when excavating at battle sites. A distinctive feature of this technique is the accuracy of determining the location of the object down to millimeters.

Pinpointers advantages: accuracy, minimal cost, small size. The disadvantages of the devices boil down to the lack of the ability to discriminate, low power, small metal detection depth.


How to choose the right metal detector? Сonclusions

There are an incredible variety of types of metal detectors. Accordingly, it will be possible to correctly determine the required model only if you think in advance how the device will be used (for what purposes the metal detector is selected, at what depth the search for relics will be carried out and how littered the area is). Further, you need to focus on the budget, because not everyone will be able to afford expensive equipment. Functionality and technical characteristics are also important criteria when you want to choose a metal detector, all of them are described in detail in our article.

When choosing a metal detector, try not to save money. These are one-time costs that are justified only at a certain level. Remember, treasures and coins are not mushrooms and will not grow again “after a rain on Thursday.” Having saved 10,000 rubles, you risk missing an expensive coin or treasure, which is incomparably more expensive than the money saved. Treasure hunting is becoming a massive hobby, and if you don’t find your treasure, tomorrow it will be found by someone else with a better metal detector.

We hope that our article will help you to choose your first metal detector.

Read: How to make money searching for treasures with a metal detector?

Read: Metal detector for beach searching – how to choose

How to choose the right metal detector

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