To start detecting successfully, one needs a comprehensive buyer’s guide to choose one of the best metal detectors. This is crucial, since not each and every metal detecting machine is suitable for an average user, or can be exploited on certain locations. So check out our complete Buyer’s Guide on metal detectors now!
✅ Minelab Equinox 800 – best metal detector overall in 2020
✅ Garrett AT Max – best for coins and relics in 2020
✅ Nokta Makro Simplex+ – best for beginners in 2020
✅ XP ORX – best for gold nuggets prospecting in 2020
✅ Minelab Excalibur II – best underwater metal detector 2020
✅ Garrett Ace 200 – best metal detector for kids in 2020
For your convenience, we have created navigation around this guide:
Top 10 Metal Detectors in 2020
|Minelab Equinox 800||$$$|
|Garrett AT Max||$$$|
|Nokta Makro Simplex||$$|
|Garrett ACE 400||$$|
|Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro||$|
|Garrett Ace 200||$|
|Bounty Hunter TK4||$|
As any other product today, detectors get improved with technological innovations and breakthroughs, and new models are released every year. To make head or tail among this abundance of models and trademarks, learn more about the top ten metal detectors popular in 2020.
Best Rated Metal Detectors
One important feature to pay attention to is the rating of the equipment. Only best rated metal detectors are really worth your attention, even if the model has been released several years ago. The point is, there are monsters of quality on the market, that have been around for ages and thousands of people around the world use them and love them for outstanding performance. Sometimes, it makes sense to prefer an older model to a brand new one, so check the ratings.
How We Rate Metal Detectors
We rate metal detectors available on the market basing on several aspects. These aspects include quality, technical specifications, additional features, innovative technologies, the reputation of the brand, and especially the real feedback of users and experts globally. Our policy is to never promote low quality machine, or a machine that provides poor user experience, only because it has a cool design. We take effort to check each piece on own own and develop an independent opinion in the first place. Next, we research feedback of real users around the world, and also compare the tech specs with those of other models present on the market. This allows to create the most objective ratings for detectors.
Best Metal Detectors For The Money
It is totally possible to find the best metal detectors for the money you can afford. You should not opt for the most expensive piece, or borrow money from bank only to buy a detecting machine. Affordable item does not mean cheap, and this is especially true for newbie users, or users who does not plan to pursue metal detecting as means of making money. If you would like to use the equipment from time to time on simple locations just for the sake of fun and curiosity, you do not need an expensive machine stuffed with fancy features. Consequently, the price will be more than adequate for such option.
How To Choose Best Metal Detector
To choose the best metal detector, the potential buyer should first made a small research and decide what kind of machine do they really need. We mean, obviously everyone would love to show off with the newest, the brandest and the most professional item, but the reality is, even experts do not always use such cool stuff, and stick to older or simple models. It all depends on a list of aspects you need to keep in mind.
The first important aspect is the user themselves. Will the machine be bought for a child, a teenager, a woman, or a man? What is the height and physical capacity of the future user? How excited are they about the hobby, and will they use the machine often? Will they treat the machine with care (this is more about kids and teens), or a cheap detecting toy will be enough for their fun? Is the future user a newbie, or has experience in metal detecting? etc.
Another important aspect is location; the choice of detector depends heavily on future locations the user plans to seek on. Models differ in their tech specs, water isolation, and other characteristics, to fit for diverse locations. To buy the best fitting equipment, you have to be aware of this.
Usability is what determines the user experience of the detectorist. The machine should have proper dimensions – that is, length and weight – that would fit the seeker, it should have the relevant level of tuning complexity, and the seeker should be able to comprehend the indications and signals given by the item.
Optimal price depends on what the buyer can (and want) to afford, and how much the best fitting item really costs. Overall, the best idea is to choose tech specs in the first place, and then look at price. Also, it is always better to opt for a bit more expensive model than a cheap one. Even if you dislike the hobby eventually, you will be able to sell higher quality piece faster.
When you purchase a machine, look at the warranty given by the manufacturer. One year warranty is not the best indicator, so better opt for those provided with two year warranty. Sometimes, the manufacturer gives diverse warranty for diverse parts of the item, meaning that some parts or accessories are expected to wear off faster. This does not obligatory mean low quality, rather, the level of punishment is diverse for diverse parts. You may want to buy additional spare parts to replace those that wear off faster.
Generally, the more expensive machine you purchase, the more accessories you get in the kit. However, you have to remember that you still pay for them. Sometimes, it may make more sense to choose a simpler kit, and then buy custom accessories separately. Such approach may make you spend a bit more money, but at least you will get exactly what you need.
Hobby Vs Professional Metal Detectors
Metal detecting machines can be conditionally divided into classes from hobby to professional metal detectors. Those closer to the first type have simpler technical specifications and especially more primitive tuning, less fancy features, and are often created for more common locations. Those models closer to professional level have a wider range of additional features, more complicated tech specs, sometimes mind-boggling settings, and are created for search in complicated locations.
This division does not mean that a newbie will not be able to come to the shop and buy a big badass expert level detector. The main point is to give hints on the capabilities of the machine, to help potential customers to get their direction in the abundance of offers. The truth is, most experts have several machines (at least two!) with diverse level of complexity, or they have additional accessories that can turn a simpler machine into more complicated machine (additional coils do the magic here). Noobs should really start with more primitive pieces, for their own benefit. Being unable to make head or tale of settings or signals means the beginner detectorist will fail to spot cool finds, and the whole thing will result in disappointment. So start with hobby pieces and then upgrade.
Metal Detectors Reviews
There are tons of metal detectors reviews on the web. diverse websites and individual bloggers provide detailed analysis of both old and new models, accessories, trademarks, and so on. Sometimes, the trademarks themselves make effort to provide comprehensive reviews and info on their products. So generally there is nothing complicated in conducting a research and find some objective information on this or that piece.
The only issue with those reviews is that sometimes, brands or sellers actually pay for them, in order to get only positive feedback. That is why we never base our reviews totally on experts’ comments, and always look for feedback from real users all over the world. It is possible to find those in diverse communities and forums. We also take effort to try each machine out on our own, and if there are any drawbacks (there are always some!), we state those right away. Our policy is to provide the information we ourselves would like to find if we were newbies looking for some useful articles out there. To check out how it works, just read some of our reviews.
What Are The Best Metal Detectors 2020?
If you are wondering what are the best metal detectors in year 2020, you should check out the table above. However, the general trend shows that Minelab as manufacturer leads in 2020, as we have placed four items by Minelab into our list. After Minelab, the second place by popularity is shared by Garrett and Fisher at the same time, but Garrett occupies higher positions than Fisher, in our list. White’s detectors and machines by the Bounty Hunter also step forward compared to other players on the market today.
Who Sells Metal Detectors
The most well-known trademarks are Garrett, Minelab, Fisher, XP, Bounty Hunter, Teknetics, Makro & Nokta, and Quest. You can buy a detector directly from a brand after visiting their website. However, today this is not the best option. If you wonder who sells metal detectors in the most convenient way, look specifically for platforms that sell machines by diverse brands.
The point is, trademarks’ websites are focused more on developing their brand, and informing the visitors about their products. Brands export their products, and selling online is not their priority. Sales websites are the opposite case, because they do not manufacture anything, and their priority is to provide the best buying experience to their customers. So you are likely to find the most convenient conditions for yourself. Big platforms like Amazon also sell metal detectors (because they sell almost anything!), therefore, you should check their conditions as well.
If you want a used machine, visit the forums and online communities; a lot of people sell their current equipment to upgrade, and you will get an honest recommendation.
Garrett Metal Detectors
Garrett company is among the oldest American trademarks that are in the industry today. Garrett metal detectors are loved by users all around the world, mostly for their high quality and outstanding reliability. Garrett machines have one thing in common – they always provide the best possible design and therefore great usability, and at the same time they never cost an arm and a leg because of some super fancy and rare features. The company keeps their machines down to earth and exceptionally practical. The majority of customers, even first buyers, tend to search with their machines for years, never wanting to change it for brand new products, and leave it only when it is almost worn into holes.
Minelab Metal Detectors
Minelab is an old and well-known Australian brand. While Australia was the one that borrowed the metal detecting trend from USA, and not the other way round, still Minelab quickly became a world-renown company that exports its products to US as well.
The peculiarity of Minelab metal detectors is that they are created mostly for complicated or unusual conditions. Even the most primitive machine by this brand will have its specialty. The point is, when in the 20th century Australia started to import detectors from US, it quickly became clear these machines cannot cope with local soils, so the first pioneers in Australia decided to solve this local issue. Australia is particularly rich in gold nuggets, so if you are looking for a machine for prospecting, Minelab may be your perfect choice.
Fisher Metal Detectors
Fisher is a unique case, because this is the oldest metal detector manufacturer in the world, still alive and kicking on the market. It was created by a German immigrant in US, and the company still releases products of impeccable quality. Fisher metal detectors combine elegance, quality, and affordable price.
While Fisher is far from being the only reputable brand on the market, and, to be honest, many competing companies are waiting for its death, the new management has chosen a brilliant approach to their operation in the niche. Fisher’s most outstanding feature as a brand is constant listening to their customers’ feedback, and addressing current problems the customers experience. The market changes, and the conditions for customers change as well, but Fisher successfully keeps its positions by placing customer satisfaction first.
Bounty Hunter Metal Detectors
This company is neighbor to some other well-known brands, because it is part of First Texas Product corporation. This fact means generally the quality and affordability combined in one. Bounty Hunter metal detectors are very popular, especially in US, and especially among newbies and beginner level detectorists.
The main benefit of these items is that they lack fancy features and complicated settings, therefore, they are easy to tune and use. And yet, they are sensitive and efficient for successful search. A beginner detectorist will be able to quickly learn and achieve amazing productivity with a Bounty Hunter piece, because the learning curve is not steep at all. This brand is also the best pick for kids and teenagers who are excited by the hobby and would like to accompany adults in real detection sessions. Instead of buying a cheap Chinese toy that is only capable of spotting some junk, better purchase a simple machine by the Bounty Hunter.
Whites Metal Detectors
Whites metal detectors is another American company that was founded in the middle of the 20th century, initially to satisfy the US government’s demand for uranium. However, compared to other similar companies, the Whites were flexible and quickly adapted when the demand for uranium ended. As a result, they managed to keep their positions in the niche, and remain one of the best manufacturers until today.
One of the best things about items by Whites is that they are flexible in production, and release equipment that would fit customers of diverse level of experience and diverse skills. Another huge advantage noticed by the majority of real users is smooth performance, regardless of the search conditions.
Teknetics Metal Detectors
Teknetics is another brand owned by the First Texas Product. Teknetics metal detectors became available in the second half of the 20th century, and the most outstanding feature of these items is their depth of reach. The inventors and researchers of this brand constantly work on improving the tech specs and usability of their products, striving to achieve the best quality possible.
The global task of the company was to redesign the very approach to the metal detecting niche, and find more innovative and efficient solutions for their items. As a result, Teknetics is very popular among the US users, especially those seeking for a deep-reaching machine.
XP Metal Detectors
XP, the French brand, is currently the best detector manufacturer in Europe, and is also one of the leaders in the industry on the global scale. XP metal detectors stand out among other products due to their unprecedented quality, innovative solutions, and sometimes totally unique features you won’t be able to find in any other model, anywhere in the world. For example, XP Deus is still the only totally wireless machine in the niche. XP always hunts down for such revolutionary solutions that shake the whole market and make the competitors stand in awe. Customers adore their XP equipment and the abundant feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
Nokta Makro Metal Detectors
These are two companies that have recently united into one common brand. Both companies are Turkish and comparatively young, if to view them on the background of such monsters like Fisher or Garrett. While the majority of buyers are still careful about products by Nokta and Makro, the reality is that Makro metal detectors start to take the market by storm due to combination of very decent quality and very low price. The reason for such situation is that manufacturing in Turkey is cheaper than in Europe or US, so the brand can afford itself to lure customers with budget-friendly offers.
Quest Metal Detectors
Quest is a company previously known as Deteknix, but they has an issue with the First Texas Product in the past, and had to rebrand themselves. Yet, this stuff with naming had nothing to do with quality of their products.
The company is still very young, as they were founded in 2000s. Yet, it already shows an efficient approach to their business, making sure that Quest metal detectors fully meet current standards in the niche. Plus, their items are currently pretty budget-friendly, and have already found their pool of customers.
Where To Buy Metal Detectors
If you would like to know where to buy metal detectors, the best place is online. After you have done your research and decided what type of machine you would like to opt for, go to the big sales websites like Amazon that sell literally everything, and use Search bar to find the detector you like.
Another option is to buy from websites focused on selling detecting equipment, accessories, and accompanying stuff. They also provide positive user experience selling online.
For a used machine, check out communities and forums. High chances you will stumble upon some good stuff for pleasant price just because the owner wants to upgrade their equipment.
Best Prices On Metal Detectors
For those who wonders about the best prices on metal detectors, we recommend checking several platforms before they actually make a purchase. perhaps you will be able to save a few dollars when buying directly from the manufacturer, but most probably not. Every platform has a certain percent added to initial price to earn their revenue, but this will not be that high.
If you want to save money, look for a used machine, or for sales on the relevant platforms. If you are lucky, you will be able to get a nice item for nice cost.
How Do Metal Detectors Work
To understand how do metal detectors work one has to keep in mind that each model works a bit diversely depending on the technology used. However, in general the mechanics is pretty comprehensive. Every detector has a search coil to swipe around above the ground and seek for items. The coil usually contains two actual wire coils. One coil is transmitter coil, and the other is receiving coil. Those coils that perform both functions in one item are called mono coils.
The transmitter coil sheds a magnetic field around it, and as you move the coil, the field moves as well, and meets metal objects in the dirt. When contacting a magnetic field of the coil, the objects react by sparkling a small field of their own. The two fields interact and the result is caught by the receiving coil. This coil sends a signal to the equipment to inform the user that the coil’s field bumped into a magnetic field of another object.
Diverse operating frequencies in the coil create diverse magnetic fields, so each coil works better with particular types of metal objects – smaller or bigger, precious metals or relics, etc.
All coils function according to a certain technology. Each technology has its own peculiarities and was created to hunt for a particular type of finds. This is the reason why detectorists should always pay attention to technology used.
Very Low Frequency (VLF)
This technology is the most popular and the most widespread in the niche currently. It functions via two coils – outer as a transmitter coil and inner as a receiver coil. The frequency is determined by the number of times the current direction switches per second. This technology uses only one frequency per mode, but the same coil can support several frequencies.
Pulse Induction (PI)
The principle behind the technology is sending short but powerful pulses of electricity through the wire, resulting is rapidly appearing and disappearing magnetic field. This pulsation makes the metal objects in the ground show their magnetic fields longer, and make them more pronounced. Therefore, the machine has better chances of spotting even small items in the dirt.
Multiple Frequency (MF)
Multi frequency detectors work by sending several frequencies simultaneously through the same coil. Of course, not every coil allows to do that, so you need a special coil. Also, it makes sense to combine low and high frequencies to achieve maximum depth of reach, because depth is the main advantage given by multiple frequency technology.
There are diverse types of search coils for detecting. They vary by size, shape, the number of actual wire coils inside, by frequencies supported, etc. The coil boxes also differ, as they may be sealed or not sealed. The coils can be partially protected from water, or totally isolated and functional underwater.
Usually the manufacturer provides the best option of the coil in the kit; if there are additional compatible coils for this machine, they are usually listed nearby. Having a device that can use several coils is always an advantage, because you may benefit from applying diverse frequencies simply changing the coil, without the need to buy a whole new device.
Such coils contain two wires, usually of slightly different size, one of which acts as a transmitter coil, and the other serves as the receiver coil. Both wires are aligned on the same center, but can be of elliptic, or semi-elliptic shape. Their advantage is clean discrimination and effective pinpointing.
Double D Coils
This type contains two semi-elliptic coils shaped as two D letters, aligned back to back, with their shortest side overlapping. Its advantages are bigger magnetic field that does not require thorough combing of the ground, and lower sensitivity to ground mineralization orso called hot rocks.
Mono coils, or monoloop search coils, contain one coil made of two or more wires, serving as transmitter and receiver coil at the same time. They can be round or semi-elliptic in shape. The advantage of monoloop is greater depth and sensitivity if compared to other coil types of the same size.
Types Of Metal Detectors
There are several types of metal detectors that every potential buyer should keep in mind, since each type is, roughly, applicable only to certain locations or conditions. If you are a beginner detectorist, research the following types to make sure you know what you want.
Gold Metal Detectors
Gold metal detectors are considered to be among the most desired, and the most popular type after “usual” machines. Everyone may dream of finding some gold, so gold detectors are equipped with special tech features, like frequency and additional settings, to make the machine most sensitive to aurum, and also to small objects. Some people also separate devices for gold jewelry search, and devices for nuggets search. This makes sense, because gold jewelry can be found in any park with neutral grounds, while nuggets or dust are usually spotted in highly mineralized soils among “hot” rocks. As a result, tech specs required are diverse.
Metal Detectors For Beginners
This is another very popular, but of course less “desired” class of metal detecting devices. The majority of buyers are first time users, being total noobs in the field. Therefore, little surprise every brand has a series of simple to use, primitive in tuning devices that offer less frequencies and mostly automated settings. Metal detectors for beginners have a low learning curve and enable the user to get results fast and easy.
Waterproof Metal Detectors
There are two types of waterproof metal detectors – those protected from rain or wet weather, and those meeting the IP68 water isolation standard. The first type will only allow you to continue search under rain, or tolerating some wet grass. IP68 is a better option, because it allows to operate on the depth of 10 feet for at least 30 seconds. Most people use such machines to search in shallow waters or on the beach. Also, it is better to have whole machine protected, and not only its coil.
Underwater Metal Detectors
Underwater metal detectors are, of course, waterproof, but their waterproofness is taken to another level. Such device remains totally functional on considerable depth, with the best ones providing seamless operation 200 feet underwater. However, these are highly specialized items used by professional divers (as a rule), and they also cost an arm and a leg.
Metal Detectors For Kids
While some may believe that it is better to buy a cheap Chinese toy for their kids instead of a device by brand, in reality, it all depends. If your kid just wants to dig some dirt in the yard, or if the kid is really small and just wants to monkey the adults with real detectors, a Chinese toy will do. However, for devoted kids or teenagers sincerely interested in this hobby, it is better to purchase a functional metal detector for kids by a reputable manufacturer. Otherwise, the kid will become disappointed in the hobby, and won’t be able to share your passion with you later.
Metal Detector Pinpointer
Metal detector pinpointer is usually an accessory used in addition to the main machine. Pin pointer metal detectors have a small magnetic field and shallow depth of reach, but are way more sensitive. They are used for spotting the exact location of the item in the hole, or in the pile of dirt. With a pinpointer, the user saves their time and effort, since they can determine the exact location of the item and dig a hole just big enough to take the find out.
Some metal detectors have a pinpoint mode as standard search mode. On the one hand, this is an advantage, because you don’t have to purchase an additional accessory. On the other hand, small pinpointers are more handy because you can get on your knees and check the hole carefully, or even stick the pinpointer into the dirt, which cannot be done with a full-fledged device.
Other Metal Detectors Types
Metal detectors can be classified according to other criteria. It all depends on the buyer’s needs and preferences.
Cheap Metal Detectors
Cheap metal detectors can be decent quality or low quality. Not every on-budget machine is inevitably junk. Some manufacturers release decent devices with a limited amount of settings, but showing good performance and brining finds. What you should definitely avoid is cheap devices by an unknown brand.
Good Metal Detectors
Good metal detectors can be identified by meeting the crucial criteria discussed above. If the device is offered by a reputable brand, fits the future user and the potential search locations, meets industry standards, and has the needed features, it can be considered a good one.
New Metal Detectors
New metal detectors always stir excitement on the market, because trademarks do not release a new model every month. However, even if the item promises to spot you gold and also bring you coffee in the morning, do not rush to buy it, unless you have a bunch of other devices already tested by time and experience. Let reviewers check the new machine for you first, and save your money if it turns out not worth its price.
Security Metal Detectors
The majority of companies that sell metal detecting machines for treasure hunting and prospecting, also make security metal detecting items, like sticks and frames for airport security systems. Security metal detectors are a totally diverse niche and apply diverse technologies than those popular for treasure hunting.