Best Metal Detector Reviews 2018

Metal detecting has been a hobby and serious interest for many people for decades. The sheer joy of finding something new with a story behind it is unparalleled—it’s even better when that find pays for your metal detector. Nothing compares. It’s what makes the hunt worth it. Shopping for metal detectors, now, is no simple task as there are so many on the market with so many different features that it can be daunting. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and done the work for you and reviewed five of the best affordable metal detectors on the market from top brands. Also, if you’re not sure what you should be looking for, we’ve put together a buying guide to help you choose the best model for your treasure hunting needs.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Size
Display
Coil
Depth
Modes
Our Top Choice
Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector
Considered a leader in metal detecting technology, Garrett truly can be considered the best in the field.
Light and easy to use. Fast recovery. Extremely versatile. Waterproof. Incredible features. Extremely accurate.
May be considered expensive, but is a worthy investment.
21.5 x 14.8 x 6.2 inches; 3 lbs
LCD Display
8.5” x 11” DD submersible coil
8 - 9 inch depth
6 modes – 3 standard and 3 custom
Best Value
National Geographic Pro Metal Detector
National Geographic is a world-renowned company that’s been around for over a century. Its products are top-notch and will help you explore the world.
Lightweight and compact. Does not require any assembly. Comes with clear instructions. Will provide your child with years of use. Great features for price. Waterproof search coil.
Built mainly for kids. Plastic design isn’t as strong as some would like.
7.5 x 4.5 x 22.5 inches; 2.3 lbs
LCD Display
10-inch waterproof detection coil
10-inch depth
3 detection modes
White’s Spectra V3i Metal Detector
White’s Electronics has been in business for over 50 years and continues to produce top-of-the-line metal detectors that are loved by people across the globe.
Ideal for advanced hunters. Offers a host of great features. Display has an adjustable backlight. Multiple hunting frequencies. Multi-language support.
Pricey, but it’s an incredible investment. Not for beginners.
44 x 9 x 12 inches; 2.7 lbs
HD Color Display
10-inch standard coil
11-inch depth
9 preset hunting modes
Fisher F22 Metal Detector
Fisher is a brand with an incredible history and range of metal detecting products for hobbyists as well as service and security professionals.
Great set of features for price. Lightweight and weatherproof. Impressive processing speed. Detects up to 9 inches deep. Works great for beginner metal detectors.
Little to no ground balance. Won’t work well on smaller pieces of gold.
22 x 8 x 5 inches; 3 lbs
LCD Display
9-inch waterproof searchcoil
9-inch depth
4 modes – pinpoint mode
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Metal Detector
Bounty Hunter is the brand to go for if you want to know that the metal detector you’re using is top-notch and made with you in mind.
Headphone jack. Lightweight. Easy to hold and use. Fully programmable touchpad. Four-mode operation. Coin depth indicator.
Best for topsoil searches. Not waterproof.
28.5 x 10 x 6.2 inches; 4.9 lbs
Multifunctional LCD display
8-inch open-face searchcoil
9- – 11-inch depth
4 modes – sniff mode

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Metal Detector?

We’ve all dreamed of finding buried treasure, whether as a child pretending to be an explorer or pirate, or as an adult who could really do with the cash. Finding treasure is a desire shared by many. While some may say it’s a pipe dream, metal detectors (and those who use them) know that it is very much a reality. Sure, you don’t go sailing in a pirate ship or go on an adventure to find where X marks the spot, but you do explore and learn new things and find something(s) valuable beneath the soil.

But metal detecting isn’t just about finding the hidden treasures beneath the sand. For some, it brings about exploration and bonding. It’s like fishing where you don’t have to catch something and take it home to have enjoyed the experience, or bird watching where some get more joy from the hunt or search than anything else. Sometimes just getting dressed and getting outside is enough.

If you’re new to metal detecting and you’re not sure exactly what to buy, then don’t worry. This buying guide is here to help you choose the right metal detector for your lifestyle.
Price
Metal detectors are by no means cheap. In fact, getting a cheap metal detector may save you a little money upfront, but it will cost you so much more in the end. That being said, metal detectors aren’t expensive either; sure, there are pricey ones with a whole lot of bells and whistles, but there are also some great affordable options for hobbyists like yourself.

When you’re shopping for your new metal detector, stick to your budget and be honest with yourself. You don’t want to go overboard and buy a ridiculously expensive metal detector simply because it looks so freaking cool… but then end up not using it to its full potential. Shop for a metal detector that’s within your budget and works for you.

Ask yourself questions such as how often you’ll use it, where you’ll be using it, and what you’ll be looking for. These questions will help you narrow down the list of available metal detectors and get one that suits your needs and your budget.

Speaking of budget, a metal detector can cost anywhere between $150 and $700, with some even going above that. Brand, size, power, and overall features affect these prices. If you want a metal detector for a child or teenager (such as your son or daughter) then you can buy one built for kids for anywhere between $60 and $150. There are many great metal detectors out there with wallet-friendly price tags. Just know what you’re looking for and you can get a great one without shelling out too much cash.
Features
Metal detectors are feature-packed tools that vary in design, size, power, and more. This is why it’s important to consider your needs when choosing a metal detector and ensuring its features meet them perfectly (or as closely as possible). Many times, newer treasure hunters will buy a metal detector based on a friend’s recommendation and while that can work out in some cases, it doesn’t always go so well. Sometimes a friend, especially one with more experience, will have their favorite brand that they swear by—but that doesn’t mean that brand is best for you. Therefore, it’s important to ask questions and research before committing.

That being said, when you’re shopping for your new metal detector, here are the base features to consider to ensure you get the one that works for you:
  • Coil Size – The size of your metal detector’s coil affects its ability to find different metals in different environments, so it’s important to choose one that works for the place you’ll be doing most of your treasure hunting in.
  • Display – Some metal detectors have LCD displays while others use a meter or an arrow to display its readings and information. This is mostly a personal preference, so opt for the one that works best for you and your hunting style.
  • Type – For many, a general detector works just fine; but if you’re looking to go further, then a specialized model may be just what you’re after.
  • Shaft – Metal detectors are built with adjustable and fixed shafts, each with its own pros and cons.
  • Audio – Different detectors use different sounds to tell you what they’ve picked up. You can use a regular pair of headphones to listen to them or choose a higher-end model with Bluetooth support so you can use wireless headphones.
  • Modes – Metal detector’s modes help you to find different metals with greater accuracy and in varying environments. Again, choose one for where you will be doing most of your detecting.
  • Depth – This refers to how far underground your metal detector will be able to pick up any metal.
  • Size – You’re going to be walking around with your metal detector for hours, so opting for a model that is comfortable to use and carry around is an important feature to consider.
  • Battery Life – Look out for battery life so you can choose one that will take you through your entire hunting session without dying midway.
  • Waterproof Construction – If you hunt along the beach or plan to use your metal detector in water, then a waterproof model and search coil are your best bet.
  • Extras – Nowadays, metal detectors have a host of extra features which set them apart from each other. Consider them carefully to see if these features would be worth your while.
  • Warranty – Given that metal detectors are an investment, it is always comforting to have a great warranty to cover it.
Construction and Design
Metal detectors vary widely in terms of design. Some offer a more basic design as they don’t boast as many features as a higher-end model. Most cases, what you’ll need to be focused on is the display area and the coil. The display area can vary from simple to complex. It can have either a small meter or arrow with a few buttons surrounding it, or an LCD screen with different readings plus notches and buttons for different functions.

Most, if not all, metal detectors have earphone jacks so you can use either your headset or earphones. Higher-end models have Bluetooth capabilities for Bluetooth headsets to allow for more freedom. When it comes to the coils, the difference is usually in size. Larger coils allow you to cover more ground and pick up more objects. However, they are not as great at pinpointing objects like smaller coils do.

If you plan to do a lot of your searching along the beach, opt for a waterproof metal detector. Some only have waterproof coils; others are waterproof so they can be completely submerged, and work perfectly.
Performance and Ease of Use
There are three things in particular that you’ll want to consider before making your metal detector purchase. These are: what type it is (and what you need), its setup procedure, and the maintenance that’s required. Let’s take a closer look at each one below.

Type

There are various types of metal detectors on the market. Some general, others specialized. Common terms, which you’ll come across, are VLF, TR, and VLF/TR. VLR means Very Low Frequency and usually refers to “mineral-free all metal” mode. TR means Transmitter/Receiver and refers to a “non-motion discriminate mode.” VLF/TR puts both of these together to give you a “mineral-free discriminate” mode.

High-frequency TRs are not able to deal with the challenges caused by the mineralization in the earth. On the other hand, they have always been great for ground-effect control that’s granted by low frequency VLF models. When you’re searching in non-mineralized salt water beaches or salt water diving, then TRs are your go-to models as they are not affected by the conductivity of the salts in the water once they are tuned properly. However, on land, more modern VLF tools are better to use as TR models do not work well with the mineralization of the ground.

RF Two-box are specialized detectors that work great for picking up large objects that are further underground. Pulse Induction detectors are another type of detector. They used to be confined to underwater activity, but with recent strides in the technology, they now work great for searching along beaches and areas where there isn’t a lot of trash because they work better than VLF/TR detectors when it comes to ignoring mineralization and conductive salts at the same time.

Setup

If you’re buying a metal detector for the first time, it will take a while before you get the general hang of it, but the setup will vary depending on your metal detector’s complexity. Follow the manual as it will have most, if not all, of the answers you need to take full advantage of your new metal detector.

Maintenance

Taking care of it won’t be much of a hassle either. In most cases, you need to keep the coil clean as it’s the part that will be exposed to sand, dirt, garbage, and everything else on the ground. Wiping it off after using it, covering it, and storing it in a safe place will increase its lifespan.

At the end of the day, the metal detector you get needs to work for you; you don’t need to worry about anything else.

What is the Best Metal Detector?

We’ve covered all the essentials when it comes to choosing a metal detector. Let’s take a look at those five great models we mentioned to see how they can help you discover your next favorite find.
Our Top Choice
The Garrett AT Pro Versatile Metal Detecting Device is one of the best on the market with remarkable features and incredible performance. It can even detect metals underwater! However, if you’re just starting out or want something cheaper then you can check out their ACE 250 Metal Detector which is perfect for beginning hobbyists and treasure hunters.
Garrett AT Pro Versatile Metal Detecting Device - High-Res Iron Discrimination and Pro Audio Mode

Garrett Metal Detector AT Pro


Features
Garrett considers itself a “worldwide leader in metal detection technology” and creates high-quality metal detectors for a variety of purposes, from security to sports. Its top-tier products include the AT Pro Metal Detector which is a high-end metal detector that was built for intermediate and advanced metal detecting enthusiasts.

The Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector has a host of features, which easily outshines the competition. With 6 modes—3 Standard and 3 Pro—a 8.5" x 11" DD PROformance submersible search coil, among other features, it’s easily one of the best metal detectors on the market.

Here’s what the AT Pro Metal Detector has to offer:
  • Pro Mode Audio
  • Iron Audio
  • High-Res Iron Discrimination
  • Ground Balance
  • Graphic Target Analyzer (GTA)
  • Battery Condition Indicator
  • Continuous Coin Depth Indicator
  • All Terrain Versatility
  • Digital Target ID
  • Fast Recovery Speed
As mentioned before, Garrett is known for creating high-quality metal detectors for not just hobbyists but also security professionals.
Best Value
The National Geographic Pro Series Metal Detector is an affordable and feature-packed metal detector that will provide your children with years of treasure hunting fun. To help them complete their treasure hunting set, get them the Nat Geo Trowel and Sifter Tool which is made from heavy-duty plastic and will help them dig up buried treasure.
National Geographic Pro Series Metal Detector – 3 Detection Modes

National Geographic Metal Detector NGPRODETECTOR


Features
National Geographic, more commonly known as Nat Geo, is known around the globe for its magazine and TV station which show us everything we could want—and not want—to know about wildlife and the planet we live on. It was National Geographic that was responsible for that famous video of a home wrecking penguin that resulted in the husband penguin being booted out of his home by his wife’s lover. It was a truly heartbreaking moment.

But we’re not going to bring up one of the most meme-worthy videos of 2016. Today, we’re reviewing the National Geographic PRO Metal Detector. This little bad boy is an affordable metal detector built for kids, but is great for all ages. It’s foldable and lightweight, making it easy to use, simple to store, and even better to take on all-day hunts. It has a waterproof, 10-inch detection coil which means your little one can even use it at the beach.

This metal detector is packed with features that will surely give your child everything he/she needs to discover buried treasure. (If you were expecting a pirate joke, know that it was sheer force of will why we haven’t gone crazy with them for this review like a kid with glitter.)

The Nat Geo PRO’s other great features are:
  • Adjustable volume for audio alert detection
  • 3 detection modes to ignore trash metals
  • 4 sensitivity modes to identify treasure as deep as 10 inches underground
  • Increased precision thanks to pinpoint mode
  • Clear and simple LCD display
  • 2-year warranty
The White’s Spectra V3i Metal Detector is a high-level metal detector with multi-frequency detection, a full color HD display, and 9 hunting presets. It is definitely a detector for a master treasure hunter. To make digging up your treasure easier, take a look at the White’s Digmaster Digger—a beloved digger with heat-treated steel and a durable comfort-grip handle.
White’s Spectra V3i Metal Detector – HD Color Display

White’s Electronics Metal Detector 800-0329


Features
White’s Electronics is a family-run metal detecting business that was started in 1950. With over 50 years in the business, this company has thrived thanks to its founder’s motto “Give the customers quality and value, and treat your employees like family.”

White’s has a wide range of incredible metal detectors, but our featured one is the impressive White’s Spectra V3i Metal Detector. This is a high-end piece of equipment that would be loved by any seasoned metal-detecting enthusiast. This is not one for beginners, no, no. This metal detector offers some incredible features that may confuse and stump a young metal detector and absolutely delight a more-experienced one.

One of the first things you may notice is its full-color HD display, which is not common among metal detectors. This allows you to see your targets clearly and operate with much more ease. It also has an adjustable backlight, giving you the right amount of brightness for any setting.

Aside from its impressive display, the V3i supports 6 different languages and has live controls for real-time adjustments. Its onboard reference guide makes familiarization much easier, especially when on the hunt, and it supports wireless headphones so you can hear clearly when you’ve found treasure.

Here are the V3i’s other great features:
  • Multiple frequency operation - 2.5 kHz, 7.5 kHz, 22.5 kHz
  • 3x3 Target ID system
  • 9 hunting program presets
  • Discrimination pattern with colored keys
  • A multitude of expert menu choices
  • Polar plot vector screen
  • Features a prospecting scan
  • Soil type selection
  • Rechargeable battery
  • 2-year warranty coverage
This is a top-tier metal detector and merely a member of White’s Spectra line which also features the Spectra V3i and the Spectra VX3.
The Fisher F22 Metal Detector is an impressive model with an easy-to-handle design and great features such as four operation modes, impressive processing speed, and a top-notch discrimination system. If you’re looking for a much higher-end Fisher metal detector then take a look at the Fisher Gold Bug Pro Combo which comes with a small 5-inch DD and a larger 10-inch DD coil to give you variety in your searches.
Fisher F22 Metal Detector – Weatherproof, Pinpoint Mode

Fisher Metal Detector F22


Features
Fisher has been around since 1931 and during that time has established itself as one of the leaders in the metal detecting industry. Whether it’s uncovering hidden treasures beneath the earth, weapons being smuggled into a venue, or finding buried utilities, Fisher has you covered. Its commitment to quality and technological innovation is what makes Fisher such a thriving company even in today’s market.

Our featured Fisher product is the Fisher F22 Metal Detector. This beauty boasts a host of cool features that will have you discovering all sorts of buried treasure. We know this would be the perfect time for a pirate joke, but we are being professional here mi matey.

Arrr, you can take the Fisher F22 out on any all-day hunt and handle it with ease thanks to its lightweight build and weatherproof design. If you’re planning to go hunting by the beach, you won’t have to worry about the water messing up your headphone jack or damaging the search coil because the headphone jack has a protective rubber cover and the search coil is waterproof.

With a 7.96kHz operating frequency and 9-inch concentric triangulated elliptical waterproof search coil, the Fisher F22 makes metal detecting simple and fun.

Here are the F22’s other great features:
  • 4 operation modes
  • Audio ID with 4 tones
  • 9-segment visual ID
  • Static Pinpointing capabilities
  • Adjustable volume with 20 levels
  • Adjustable sensitivity with 10 levels
  • Non-volatile memory saves settings
  • Easy-to-identify iron identifier icon
  • 2-digit large numeric target-ID, 1-99
  • Fe-tone which is Adjustable Iron Audio
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty
The Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Multipurpose Metal Detector offers you everything you need to find hidden treasures and precious metals, including a Sniff Mode. However, if you’re a new to detecting and want something less expensive then you can check out the Gold Digger Metal Detector which was designed for beginners especially those with their eye on gold.
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Multipurpose Metal Detector with 3-Tone Audio Discrimination - Available as Part of Set

Bounty Hunter Flexible Metal Detector TIME – Metal Detector


Features
Bounty Hunter is a trusted brand when it comes to metal detecting and its Time Ranger metal detector is a great example of why this is so. It’s lightweight, easy to use, comes with four modes, and can detect any metal you program it to find.

It’s a top-of-the-line metal detector with features that blow other metal detectors out of the water. Its wide range of features such as 3-tone audio discrimination, programmable notching system, and ground-balance monitor system make this metal detector one for the ages.

But that’s not all this metal detector offers. Here are its other incredible features:
  • Target-ID and depth readout
  • Ground-Trac monitors the mineralization of the ground
  • Blanker features remove unwanted targets
  • Sniff mode improves accuracy
  • Four-level iron discrimination
  • Fully programmable for maximum flexibility
  • Waterproof search coil
  • Long battery life
The Bounty Hunter Time Ranger is a part of the Bounty Hunter Serious Metal Detectors line that’s for serious treasure hunters who—as the website says—“really want to find something.”

Get the Best Metal Detector of 2018!

Thanks for reading our top metal detectors review. We made sure to include models for beginners, more-seasoned treasure hunters, and even kids. If none of these options works for you then check out what else these five trusted brands have to offer. We’re sure one of them has your next trusted metal detecting companion.

Our Top Choice
Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector
Best Value
National Geographic Pro Metal Detector
White’s Spectra V3i Metal Detector
Fisher F22 Metal Detector
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Metal Detector